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BookReview: One-Dimensional Man
by Herbert Marcuse, Beacon Press, 1964, 0-8070-1575-X

[p1] A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress.

The rights and liberties which were such vital factors in the origins and earlier stages of industrial society yield to a higher stage of this society: they are loing their traditional rationale and content.

To the degree to which freedom from want, the concrete substance of all freedom, is becoming a real possibility, the liberties which pertain to a state of lower productivity are losing their fomer content.

[p3] By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian.

Today political power asserts itself through its power over the machine process and over the techinical organization of the apparatus.

[p5] 'False' [needs] are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his represion

The prevalence of repressive needs ... accepted in ignorance and defeat ... must be undone in the interest of the happy individual as well as all those whose misery is the price of his satisfaction.

[p9] The intellectual and emotional refusal 'to go along' appears neurotic and impotent.

[p11] The efficiency of the system blunts the individuals' recognition that it contains no facts which do not communicate the repressive power of the whole.

[p12] Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior in which ideas, aspirations, and objectives that, by their content, transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe.

[p14] 'free' are the institutions which operate ... in the countries of the Free World

[p17] Validated by the accomplishments of science and technology, justified by its growing productivity, the status quo defies all transcendence.

Operationalism, in theory and practice, becomes the theory and practice of containment.

[p17] Technological rationality reveals its political character as it becomes the great vehicle of better domination, creating a truly totalitarian universe in which society and nature, mind and body are kept in a state of permanent mobilization for the defense of this universe.

[p19] The society of total mobilization, which takes shape in the most advanced areas of industrial civilization, combines in preductive union the features of the Welfare State and the Warfare State.

[p21] [T]here arises a universe of administration in which depressions are conrolled and conflicts stabilized by the beneficial effects of growing productivity and threatening nuclear war.

[p22] The classical Marxian theory...: the proletariat destroys the political apparatus of capitalism but retains the technological apparatus However, the productive apparatus embodies technological rationality of capitalism.

[p23] [T]he notion that the liberating historical forces deelop within the established society is a cornerstone of Marxian theory.

[T]his 'space within' is being barred by a society in which subjects as well as objects constitute instrumentalities in a whole that has its raison d'etre in the accomplishments of its overpowering productivity.

[p24] The laboring classes...are undergoing a decisive transformation[:]

(1) Mechanization is increasingly reducing the quantity and intensity of physical energy expended in labor.

[p25] Now the ever-more-complete mechanization of labor in advanced capitalism, while sustaining exploitation, modifies the attitude and the status of the exploited.

[p27] (2) The assimilating trend shows forth in the occupational stratification[:] the 'blue-collar' work force declines in relation to the 'white-collar' element

[p29] (3) These changes ... become manifest in the widely discussed 'social and cultural integration' of the laboring class with capitalist society.

[p31] (4) [Enforcing] a weakening of the negative position of the working class: the latter no longer appears to be the living contradiction to established society.

[p33] As the productive establishments rely on the military for self-preservation and growth, so the military relies on the corporations 'not only for their weapons, but also for knowledge of what kind of weapons they need, how much they will cost, and how long it will take to get them.'

[p36] Automation, once it became the process of material production, would revolutionize the whole society.

[p37] [O]rganized labor rightly opposes automation without compensating employment. [C]ontinued arrest of automation way weaken the copetitive national and international position of copital, cause a long-range depression, and consequently reactivate the conflict of class interests.

[p38] In view of increasing ... white-collar element ... political radicalization would have to be accompanied by the emergence of an independent political consciousness and action amoung the white-collar groups--a rather unlikely development To counter this, the political apparatus must invest more in welfare programs (military subsidies as well as social). I believe that the dominant interests will gradually and hesitantly accept these requirements

[p39] Soviet society is at an earlier stage of industrialization. Its economic and its political institutions are essentially different (total nationalization, and dictatorship)

The historical backwardness ... compels Soviet industrialization to proceed without planned waste and obsolescence.

[p40] [S]ociety must first create the material prerequisites of freedom for all its members before it can be a free society.

And, to the degree to which the slaves have been preconditioned to exist as slaves and be content in that role, their liberation necessarily appears to come from without and from above. Who educates the educators, and where is the proof that they are in possesion of 'the good?' Who says elected representatives can do the right thing either?

[p41] The second phase Control of the productive process by the 'immediate producers' is supposed to initiate the development which distiguishes the history of free men from the prehistory of man.

[p42] [T]he actual development in present-day communist society postpones (or is compelled to postpone, by the international situation) the qualititive change to the second phase, and the transition from capitalism to socialism appears, in spite of the revolution, still as quantitative change.

[p43] The more the rulers are capable of delivering the goods of consumption, the more firmly will the underlying population be tied to the various ruling bureaucracies.

[p44] One can dispense with the notion of an innate 'power-drive' in human nature.

[p43] [d]istribution of the necessities of life regardless of work perfromance, reduction of working time to a minimum, universal all-sided education toward exchangeability of functions?

[p45] The need for the all-out utilization of technical progress ... may prove stronger than the resistance of the vested bureaucracies

[p48] [T]he prospects of containment of change, offered by the politics of technological rationality, depend on the prospects of the Welfare State.

[p49] [T]he Welfare State is a state of unfreedom because its total administration is systamitc restriction of (a) [free time]; (b) [goods] for vital needs; (c) the intelligence capable ... of self-determination.

Late industrial society causes a rising standard of living and good life.

[T]he transcending political forces within society are arrested, and qualitative change appears possible only as a change from without.

[p50] At the most advanced stage of capitalism, [the society prior to a Welfare State] is a system of subdued pluralism, in which the competing institutions concur in solidying the power of the whole over the individual. Still, for the administered individual, pluraistic administration is far better than total administration.

[p51] Advanced industrial society is indeed a system of countrevailing powers. But theses forces cancel each other out in a higher unification--in the common interest to defend and extend the established position, to combat the historical alternatives, to contain qualitative change.

[p51] Neither the growing productivity nor the high standard of living depend on the threat from without, but their use for the containment of social change and perpetuation of servitude does.

[p52] Democracy would appear to be the most efficient system of domination.

[p55] The fateful interdependence of the only two 'soveregn' social systems in the contemporary world is expressive of the fact that the conflict between progress and politics, between man and ihs masters has become total. They both struggle against a form of life which would dissolve the basis for domination.

[p56] The achievements and the failures of this society invalidate its higher culture.

Man today can do more than the culture heros and half-gods; he has solved many insoluble problems. But he has also betrayed the hope and destroyed the truth which were preserved in the sublimations of higher culture.

[p57] Today's novel feature is the flattening out of the antagonism between culture and social reality through the obliteration of the oppositional, alien, and transcendent elements in the higher culture by virtue of which it constituted another dimension of reality.

This liquidation occurs through [the] wholesale incorporation [of 'cultural values'] into the established order.

[p165] [T]he inherent limit of the established science and scientific methhod, by virtue of which they extend, rationalize , and insure the prevailing Lebenswelt without altering its existential structure---that is without envisaging a qualitatively new mode of 'seeing' and qualitatively new relations between men and between man and nature.

[T]he instrumentalist horizon...created a new wold of theoretical and practical Reason, but it has remained committed to a specific historical world which has its evident limits--in theory as well as in proctice, in its pure as well as applied methods.

[p166] [S]cience, by virtue of its own method and concepts, has projected and promoted a universe in which domination of nature has remained linked to the domination of man--a link which tends to be fatal to this universe as a whole.

[p169] The world tends become the stuff of total administration, which absorbs even the administrators. The web of domination has become the web of Reason itself, and this society is fatally entangled in it.

[p178] 'The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have always known.'

The self-styled poverty of philosophy, committed with all its concepts to the given state of affairs, distrusts the possibilities of a new experience. Subjection to the rule of the exstablished facts is total--only linguistic facts, to be sure , bute the society speaks in its language, and we are told to obey.

[p206] The disharmony between the individual and the social needs, and the lack of representative institutions in which the individuals work for themselves and speak for themselves, lead to the reality of such universals as the Nation, the Party, the Constitution, the Corporation, the Church--a reality which is not identical with any particular identifiable entity (individual, group, or institution). Such universals express various degrees and modes of reification. Their independence, althought real, is a spurious one inasmuch as it is that of particular powers which have organized the whole of society.

[p211] The protest against the vague, obscure, metaphysical character of such universals, the insistence of familiar concreteness and protective security of ocmmon and scientific sense still reveal somethhing of thet primordial anxiety which guided the recorded origins of philisophic thought in its evolution from lreligion to mythology, and from mythology to logic; defense and security still are large atimes in the intellectual as well as national budget.

[p218] The objects of thought and perception as they appear to the individuals prior to all 'subjective' interpretation have in common certain primary qualities, pertaining to these two layers of reality: (1) to the physical (natural) structure of matter, and (2) to form which matter has acquired in the collective historical proctice that has made it (matter_0 into objects for a subject. The two layers or aspects of objectivity (physical and historical) are interrelated in such a way that they cannot be insulated from each other; the historical aspect can never be eliminated so radically that only the 'absolute' physical layer remains.

[p221] Continuity is preserved through rupture: quantitative development becomes qualitative change if it attains the very structure of an established system; the established rationality becomes irrational when, in the course of its internal development, the potentialities of the system have outgrown its institutions. Such internal refuration pertains to the historical character of reality, and the same character confers upon the concepts which comprehend this reality their critical intent. They recognize and anticipate the irrational in the established reality--they project the historical negation.

[p227] Critical thought strives to define the irrational character of the establised rationality (which becomes increasingly obvious) and to define the tendecncies which cause this rationality to generate its own transformation. 'Its own' because, as hitorical totality, it has developed forces and capabilities which themselves become projects beyond the established totality.

[p233] Instead of being separated from science and scientific method, and left to subjective preference and irrational, transcendental sanction, formerly metaphysical ideas of liberation may becom the proper object of scienc. But this development confronts science with the unpleasant task of becoming political--of recognizing scientific consciousness as political consciousness, and the scientifc enterprise as political enterprise. For the transformation of values into needs, of final causes into technical possibilities is a new stage in the conquest of oppressive, unmastered forces in society as well as in nature.

[p237] All joy and al happiness derive from the ability to transcend Nature--a transcendence in which the mastery of Nature is itself subordinated to liberation and pacification of existence.

[p238] Glorification of the natural is part of the ideology which protects an unnatural society in its struggle against liberation. The defamation of birth control is a striking example.

Civilization produces the means for freeing Nature from its own brutatility, its own insufficiency, its own blindness, by virtue of the cognitive and transforming power of Reason. And Reason can fulfill this function only as post technological rationality, in which technics is itself the instrumentality of pacification, organon of the 'art of life.' The function of Reason then converges with the function of Art.

[p240] Thus, the artistic transformation violates the natural object, but the iolated is itself oppressive; thus the aesthetic transformation is liberation.

[p240] But outside of these small, protected areas [gardens, parks, & reservations], it has treated Nature as it has treated man--as an instrument of destructive productivity.

[p244] This sort of privacy--the sole condition that, on the basis of satisfied vital needs, can give meaning to freedom and independence of thought--has long since become the most expensive commodity, available only to the very rich (who don't use it).

[p245] The degree to which the population is allowed to break the peace wherever there still is peace and silence, to be ugly and to uglify things, to ooze familiarity, to offend against good form is frightening. It is frightening becaus it expresses the lawful and even organized effort ot reject the Other in his own right, to prevent autonomy even in a small, reserve sphere of exstence. In the overdeveloped countries, an even-larger part of the population becomes one huge captive audience--captured not by a totalitarian regime but by the liberties of the citizens whose media of amusement and elevation compel the Other to partake of their sounds, sights, and smells.

Via Rob 1990