Eros and Civilization : A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud

Eros and Civilization : A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud

Herbert Marcuse

Language: English

Pages: 312

ISBN: 0807015555

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this classic work, Herbert Marcuse takes as his starting point Freud's statement that civilization is based on the permanent subjugation of the human instincts, his reconstruction of the prehistory of mankind - to an interpretation of the basic trends of western civilization, stressing the philosophical and sociological implications.












only within the firmly sanctioned and well-protected sphere of established institutions. Consequently, the Neo-Freudian critique remains in a strict sense ideological: it has no conceptual basis outside the established system; most of its critical ideas and values are those provided by the system. Idealistic morality and religion celebrate their happy resurrection: the fact that they are embellished with the vocabulary of the very psychology that originally refuted their claim ill conceals their

violate all that one finds in one’s inmost self of ultimate justice. Imagination alone tells me what can be” André Breton, Les Manifestes du Surréalisme (Paris: Editions du Sagittaire, 1946), p. 15. This was the first manifesto (1924). 13 Ibid., p. 25. 14 Ibid., p. 26. 15 A. N. Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (New York: Macmillan, 1926), p. 228. 16 “… Angst Leben.” T. W. Adorno, Versuch über Wagner (Berlin-Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1952), p. 198. 17 “True civilization does not lie in gas,

Heinz Hartmann, “The Application of Psychoanalytic Concepts to Social Science,” in Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vol. XIX, No. 3 (1950), Clyde Kluckhohn, Mirror for Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1949); and Heinz Hartmann, Ernst Kris, and Rudolph M. Lowenstein, “Some Psychoanalytic Comments on ‘Culture and Personality,’” in Psychoanalysis and Culture: Essays in Honor of Géza Róheim (New York: International Universities Press, 1951). 2 For a more specific discussion of Neo-Freudian revisionism, see the

“garden” which can grow while making human beings grow. It is the attitude that experiences man and nature as joined in a non-repressive and still functioning order. We have seen how the otherwise most divergent traditions of thought converged on this idea: the philosophical opposition against the performance principle; the Orphic and Narcissistic archetypes; the aesthetic conception. But while the psychoanalytical and anthropological concepts of such an order have been oriented on the

the available means for creating a humane existence for all is no longer confined to a privileged elite. The facts are all too open, and the individual consciousness would safely arrive at them if it were not methodically arrested and diverted. The distinction between rational and irrational authority, between repression and surplus-repression, can be made and verified by the individuals themselves. That they cannot make this distinction now does not mean that they cannot learn to make it once

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