[Steve’s note – this continues the various short vignettes highlighting parts of Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man Here are links to the introduction, could becoming should, religion, rationalization of brutality, threats that aren’t threats, the sometimes subtle structures of power, Fight Club as Social Commentary, and Marcuse versus Popular Culture.]
Marcuse seems unaware of his own place in history. He is part of the antithesis. He – and One-Dimensional Man – are parts of the reaction he fears will not come. At the same time, he seems bent on making his dire prophecy self-fulfilling. His “masterwork” is convoluted and inaccessible – not due to the ideas, but simply due to the convoluted writing style. He is consistently unaware of his elitism. He complains about the impenetrable nature of philosophic speech – while being similarly impenetrable himself. He is routinely naive about the power-hungry nature of people. He spins a tight tautology that requires strict adherence to his own world-view – and anything less is being co-opted by the dominant paradigm.
And yet, despite all its flaws, the ideas in the text are revolutionary.