Herbert Marcuse Quotes


Best 57 Quotes by Herbert Marcuse – Page 1 of 2

“Art breaks open a dimension inaccessible to other experience, a dimension in which human beings, nature, and things no longer stand under the law of the established reality principle...The encounter with the truth of art happens in the estranging language and images which make perceptible, visible, and audible that which is no longer, or not yet, perceived, said, and heard in everyday life.”

“At the present stage of advanced capitalism, organized labor rightly opposes automation without compensating employment. It insists on the extensive utilization of human labor power in material production, and thus opposes technical progress. However, in doing so, it also opposes the more efficient utilization of capital; it hampers intensified efforts to raise the productivity of labor. In other words, continued arrest of automation may weaken the competitive national and international position of capital, cause a long- range depression, and consequently reactivate the conflict of class interests.”

“It is no longer one of its tasks, the 'revolution', to radically deepen the existing currents in the existing society and to complete the course of these currents, but it has become a kind of awakening, sharpening and mobilizing those energies that seem negative in one way or another as a result of the absorption and oppression they are exposed to. It is exercised by those powers that shape human experience.”

“Not every problem someone has with his girlfriend is necessarily due to the capitalist mode of production.”

“Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another.”

“The danger of abusing the discovery of the truth value of imagination for retrogressive tendencies is exemplified by the work of Carl Jung. More empathically than Freud, he has insisted on the cognitive force of imagination. According to Jung, phantasy is ‘undistinguishably’ united with all other mental functions, it appears ‘now as primeval, now as the ultimate and most audacious synthesis of all capabilities.’ Phantasy is above all the ‘creative activity out of which flow the answers to all answerable questions’; it is ‘the mother of all possibilities, in which all mental opposites as well as the conflict between internal and external world are united.’ Phantasy has always built the bridge between the irreconcilable demands of object and subject, extroversion and introversion. The simultaneously retrospective and expectant character of imagination is thus clearly stated: it looks not only back to an aboriginal golden past, but also forward to still unrealized but realizable possibilities.”

“The intellectual is called on the carpet. Don't you conceal something? You talk a language which is suspect.

You don't talk like the rest of us, like the man in the street, but rather like a foreigner who does not belong here. We have to cut you down to size, expose your tricks, purge you.”

“The means of communication, the irresistible output of the entertainment and information industry carry with them prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers to the producers and, through the latter to the whole social system.

The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood. Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior.”

“The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and allelse, now concerns itself no more, and longs eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses!”

“The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form.

The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing the gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one’s own destruction, has become a “biological” need.”

“The strains and stresses suffered by the individual in society are grounded in the normal functioning of that society (and of the individual!) rather than in its disturbances and diseases.”

“The term totalitarian, in fact, does not apply only to a terrorist political organization of society, but also to a non-terrorist economic-technical organization which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.

It thus precludes the emergence of an effective opposition against the whole system. Not only does a specific form of government or party domination produce totalitarianism, but also a specific system of production and distribution, a system which may well be compatible with a pluralism of parties, newspapers, counterbalancing powers, etc.”

“The truth of art lies in its power to break the monopoly of established reality to define what is real.”

“Those who devote their lives to earning a living are incapable of living a human existence.”

“When the heavens do wrong the youth correct it. The opportunity has come and should not be missed!”

An Essay on Liberation Quotes

“A political practice of methodical disengagement from and refusal of the Establishment, aiming at a radical transvaluation of values. Such a practice involves a break with the familiar, the routine ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding things so that the organism may become receptive to the potential forms of a nonaggressive, nonexploitative world.”

An Essay on Liberation

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“Education is a system of imposed ignorance.”

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“At this stage, the question is no longer: how can the individual satisfy his own needs without hurting others, but rather: how can he satisfy his needs without hurting himself, without reproducing, through his aspirations and satisfactions, his dependence on an exploitative apparatus which, in satisfying his needs, perpetuates his servitude? The”

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Eros and Civilization Quotes

“Every sound reason is on the side of law and order in their insistence that the eternity of joy be reserved for the hereafter, and in their endeavor to subordinate the struggle against death and disease to the never-ceasing requirements of national and international security.”

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“The high standard of living in the domain of the great corporations is restrictive in a concrete sociological sense: the goods and services that the individuals buy control their needs and petrify their faculties.

In exchange for the commodities that enrich their life, the individuals sell not only their labor but also their free time. The better living is offset by the all-pervasive control over living. People dwell in apartment concentrations- and have private automobiles with which they can no longer escape into a different world. They have huge refrigerators filled with frozen foods. They have dozens of newspapers and magazines that espouse the same ideals.

They have innumerable choices, innumerable gadgets which are all of the same sort and keep them occupied and divert their attention from the real issue – which is the awareness that they could both work less and determine their own needs and satisfactions.”

Eros and Civilization

“The Orphic symbols center on the singing god who lives to defeat death and who liberates nature, so that the constrained and constraining matter releases the beautiful and playful forms of animate and inanimate things. No longer striving and no longer desiring ‘for something still to be attained,’ they are free from fear and fetter – and thus free per se. The contemplation of Narcissus repels all other activity in the erotic surrender to beauty, inseparably uniting his own existence with nature.”

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“The psychoanalytic liberation of memory explodes the rationality of the repressed individual. As cognition gives way to re-cognition, the forbidden images and impulses of childhood begin to tell the truth that reason denies.”

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“Timelessness is the ideal of pleasure.”

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“Under conditions of a truly human existence, the difference between succumbing to disease at the age of ten, thirty, fifty, or seventy, and dying a 'natural' death after a fulfilled life, may well be a difference worth fighting for with all instinctual energy.

Not those who die, but those who die before they must and want to die, those who die in agony and pain, are the great indictment against civilization. They also testify to the unredeemable guilt of mankind. Their death arouses the painful awareness that it was unnecessary, that it could be otherwise.

It takes all the institutions and values of a repressive order to pacify the bad conscience of this guilt. Once again, the deep connection between the death instinct and the sense of guilt becomes apparent.

The silent 'professional agreement' with the fact of death and disease is perhaps one of the most widespread expressions of the death instinct -- or, rather, of its social usefulness. In a repressive civilization, death itself becomes an instrument of repression.

Whether death is feared as constant threat, or glorified as supreme sacrifice, or accepted as fate, the education for consent to death introduces an element of surrender into life from the beginning – surrender and submission. It stifles 'utopian' efforts. The powers that be have a deep affinity to death; death is a token of unfreedom, of defeat.

Theology and philosophy today compete with each other in celebrating death as an existential category: perverting a biological fact into an ontological essence, they bestow transcendental blessing on the guilt of mankind which they help to perpetuate -- they betray the promise of utopia.”

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One-Dimensional Man Quotes

“All liberation depends on the consciousness of servitude and the emergence of this consciousness is always hampered by the predominance of needs and satisfactions which, to a great extent, have become the individual's own.”

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“By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For "totalitarian" is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.”

One-Dimensional Man

“For “totalitarian” is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a nonterroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.”

One-Dimensional Man

“For Marcuse, the distinguishing features of a human being are free and creative subjectivity. If in one’s economic and social life one is administered by a technical labor apparatus and conforms to dominant social norms, one is losing one’s potentialities of self-determination and individuality. Alienated from the powers of being-a-self, one-dimensional man thus becomes an object of administration and conformity.”

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“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.”

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“Human freedom is not measured according to the choice available to the individual, but rather the decisive factor and the only one in determining it is what the individual can choose and what he chooses.”

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“If the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places, if the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer, if the Negro owns a Cadillac, if they all read the same newspaper, then this assimilation indicates not the disappearance of classes, but the extent to which the needs and satisfactions that serve the preservation of the Establishment are shared by the underlying population.”

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“There is no aphrodisiac like innocence.”

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