marcuse - eros and civilization

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r-EROS ANDCIVILIZATION A PhilosophicalInquiryintoFreud HERBERTMARCUSE Witha N_ewPrefacebytheAuthor BEACONPRESSBOSTON Copyright1955, 1966 by The BeaconPress Library of Congress catalog card number:66-3219 InternationalStandard BookNumbers:0-8070-1554-7 0-8070-15 55-5(pbk.) First publishedasaBeacon Paperbackin1974 BeaconPressbooksare publishedunder the auspices of the UnitarianUniversalist Association All rightsreserved Printed inthe United Statesof America 10987654 WRITTENINMEMORYOF SOPHIEMARCUSE 1901-1951 Contents PoLmcALPREFACE1966 PREFACETOFIRSTEDITION INTRODUCTION PAuI:UNDERTHERULEOFTHEREALITY PRINCIPLE 1.The Hidden Trend in Psychoanalysis Pleasureprinciple andrealityprinciple Genetic and individualrepression "Return of therepressed "incivilization Civilizationandwant:rationalizationofrenunciation "Remembranceof thingspast"asvehicleoflibera-tion 2.The OriginoftheRepressedIndividual(Onto-xi xxvii 3 11 genesis)21 The mental apparatus asa dynamic union of opposites StagesinFreud's theory of instincts Commonconservativenatureof primaryinstincts Possible supremacy of Nirvana principle Id,ego,superego "Corporealization" of the psyche Reactionary character of superego Evaluationof Freud's basic conception Analysis of the interpretation of history inFreud's psy-chology Distinctionbetweenrepressionand" surplus-repres-viiiCONTENTS Alienated labor andtheperformance principle Organizationof sexuality:taboosonpleasure Organizationof destructioninstincts Fatal dialectic of civilization 3TheOriginofRepressiveCivilization(Phylo-genesis) "Archaic heritage "ofthe individual ego Individual and group psychology Theprimalhorde:rebellionandrestorationofdomi-nation Dual content of the senseofguilt Returnoftherepressedinreligion The failureofrevolution Changes in father-imagesand mother-images 4The Dialectic ofCivilization Need forstrengthened defenseagainstdestruction Civilization'sdemandforsublimation(desexualiza-tion) Weakening of Eros(life instincts);releaseof destruc tiveness Progressinproductivity andprogressindomination Intensifiedcontrolsinindustrialcivilization Declineof strugglewiththe father Depersonalizationofsuperego,shrinkingof ego Completion ofalienation Disintegrationofthe establishedrealityprinciple ** 5Philosophical Interlude Freud's theory of civilizationin the tradition of West ernphilosophy Egoasaggressiveandtranscending subject Logosaslogicofdomination Philosophicalprotestagainstlogicofdomination Beingandbecoming:permanenceversustranscend-ence n,, rf'tnrnin Aristotle.Nietzsche ss 106 CONTENTS PARTII:BEYONDTHEREALITYPRINCIPLE 6.The HistoricalLimitsof the EstablishedReality I 1X Principle129 Obsolescence of scarcity and domination Hypothesisofanewrealityprinciple The instinctual dynamic toward non-repressive civiliza-tion Problem of verifying the hypothesis 7Phantasy andUtopia140 Phantasyversusreason Preservation of the" archaic past" Truth valueof phantasy The imageoflifewithoutrepressionandanxiety Possibility of realfreedominamature civilization Need for aredefinitionof progress 8.The Images of Orpheus and Narcissus159 Archetypesofhumanexistenceundernon-repressive civilization OrpheusandNarcissusversusPrometheus MythologicalstruggleofErosagainstthetyrannyof reason -against death Reconciliation of man and nature in sensuous culture 9The Aesthetic Dimension1 Aesthetics asthe science of sensuousness Reconciliation between pleasure and freedom,instinct andmorality Aesthetictheoriesof Baumgarten,Kant,and Schiller Elements of a non-repressive culture Transformation of workinto play 10.The Transformation of Sexuality into Eros197 The abolitionof domination X CONTENTS " Self-sublimation "of sexualityintoEros Repressiveversusfreesublimation Emergence of non-repressive societal relationships Work asthe freeplay of humanfaculties Possibility of libidinous work relations 11.Eros and Thanatos The new idea of reason:rationality of gratification Libidinous morality The struggle against the fluxof time ChangeintherelationbetweenErosanddeathin-stinct EPILOGUE:Critique of Nee-Freudian Revisionism238 INDEX275 PoliticalPreface1966 ErosandCivilization:thetitleexpressedanoptimistic, euphemistic,evenpositivethought,namely,thatthe 8Chievementsofadvancedindustrialsocietywouldenable man to reversethe direction of progress,to break the fatal llllion of productivity and destruction, liberty and repression -in other words,tolearnthe gayscience(gayasciencia) fll bow to usethe social wealthforshaping man's worldin acordance with his Life Instincts, in the concerted struggle tpinst the purveyorsof Death.This optimism wasbased theassumptionthattherationaleforthecontinued aceptance of domination no longer prevailed,that scarcity ad the needfortoilwereonly" artificially "perpetuated -in theinterestofpreservingthesystemofdomination. Ineglectedor minimized the factthat this"obsolescent" Dtionalehadbeenvastlystrengthened(ifnotreplaced) 1J.revenmoreefficientformsofsocialcontrol.Thevery Jan:eswhichrenderedsocietycapableofpacifyingthe llroggleforexistenceservedtorepressintheindividuals the needforsuchaliberation.Where the highstandard flllivingdoesnotsufficeforreconcilingthepeoplewith their life and theirrulers,the" socialengineering "ofthe 1001andthe" scienceofhumanrelations "providethe -------- 1 . ! 1 _ . ! ~ _ !__ 1__ ,_1_ ___ _T__ 11__ n"l-.... xiiEROSANDCIVILlZATION thorities are hardly forced tojustify their dominion.They deliverthe goods;they satisfy the sexual and the aggressive energy of their subjects.Like the unconscious, the destruc-tive power of which they sosuccessfully represent, they are this side of good and evil, and the principle of contradiction has no place in their logic. Astheaffiuenceofsocietydependsincreasinglyonthe uninterruptedproductionandconsumptionofwaste, gadgets,plannedobsolescence,andmeansofdestruction, the individuals have to be adapted to these requirements in morethanthetraditionalways.The"economicwhip," evenin its most refined forms, seems no longer adequate to insurethecontinuationofthestruggleforexistencein today'soutdated organization, nor dothe lawsand patriot ismseem adequate to insure active popular support forthe evermoredangerousexpansionofthesystem.Scientific managementofinstinctualneedshas long since become a vital factor in the reproduction of the system:merchandise which has to be bought and used is made into objects of the libido; and the nationalEnemy who hasto be foughtand hated is distorted and inflated to such an extent that he can activate and satisfy aggressiveness in the depth dimension of theunconscious.Massdemocracyprovidesthepolitical paraphernaliaforeffectuatingthisintrojectionofthe Reality Principle;it notonlypermitsthe people(up to point)to chose their own masters and to participate(up apoint)in the governmentwhichgovernsthem- it allowsthemasterstodisappearbehindtheveil of the productive and destructive apparatus which POLITICALPREFACE1966 xiii the benefits and comforts which it bestows upon those who c:oDaborate.Thepeople,efficientlymanipulatedandor pnized,arefree;ignoranceandimpotence,introjected lleteronomy is the price of their freedom. It makesno sense to talk about liberation to freemen-melwearefreeifwedonotbelongtotheoppressed .UOority.And it makesno sensetotalk about surplusr& pasion whenmenandwomenenjoymoresexualliberty tlrmeverbefore.But thetruthisthatthisfreedomand ldisfactionaretransformingthe earthintohell.Thein-lemo is stillconcentrated in certain farawayplaces:Viet--.o, the Congo,SouthMrica,andinthe ghettosofthe .aluent society ": in Mississippi and Alabama, in Harlem. !IIese infernalplacesilluminate the whole.It iseasy and -ole to seeinthemonly pockets of poverty and misery a growing society capable of eliminating them gradually withoutacatastrophe.Thisinterpretationmayeven le Ralisticandcorrect.Thequestionis:eliminatedat cost- not in dollars and cents, but in human lives and freedom? Ihesitate tousethe word- freedom -because it ispre-in the name of freedom that crimes against humanity being perpetrated.This situationiscertainlynot new lidory:povertyandexploitationwereproductsofeco-freedom;timeandagain,peoplewereliberatedall theglobebytheirlordsandmasters,andtheirnew turned outto be submission,not to the ruleof law IDthe rule ofthe law of the others.What started as jaion byforcesoonbecame" voluntaryservitude," ... .., -xivEROSANDClVILIZATION increasinglyrewardingandpalatable.Thereproduction, bigger and better,ofthe samewaysof lifecameto mean, ever more clearly and consciously, the closing of those other possible waysof life which could do away with the serfs and the masters, withthe productivity of repression. Today, thisunionof freedomandservitude has "natural''andavehicleofprogress.Prosperityappears more and more asthe prerequisite and by-product of a self-propellingproductivityeverseekingnewoutletsforcon-sumptionandfordestruction,inouterandinnerspace, whilebeingrestrainedfrom" overflowing "intotheareas of misery- at home and abroad.Asagainst this amalgam oflibertyand aggression,productionanddestruction,the imageofhumanfreedomisdislocated:itbecomesthe projectof thesubversionof thissortof progress.Libera-tionoftheinstinctualneedsforpeaceandquiet,ofthe "asocial " autonomous Eros presupposes liberation from re-pressiveaffluence:a reversalin the directionof progress. It wasthe thesisofErosand Civilization, more fullyde-veloped in my One-Dimensional Man, that man could avoid thefateofaWelfare-Through-WarfareStateonlyby achieving anewstartingpoint where he could reconstruct theproductiveapparatuswithoutthat" innerworldlyas-ceticism "which provided the mental basisfordomination andexploration.This imageof man wasthe determinate negationofNietzsche'ssuperman:manintelligent enough and healthyenoughtodispensewithallherosandheroic virtues,manwithouttheimpulsetolivedangerously,to meet the challenge; man with the good conscience to make __!- !J.. ... -ll.__1!... - :- :,...u,. u,;f-hnnf-POLITICALPREFACE1966 XV Polymorphoussexuality "wasthetermwhichIusedto illdicatethat


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