“Alienation” is the constant and essential element of identity, the objective side of the subject — and not, as it is made to appear today, a disease, a psychological condition. Freud well knew the difference between progressive and regressive, liberating and destructive repression. The publicity of self-actualization promotes the removal of the one and the other, it promotes existence in that immediacy which, in a repressive society, is (to use another Hegelian term) bad immediacy (schlechte Unmittelbarkeit). It isolates the individual from the one dimension where he could “find himself”: from his political existence, which is at the core of his entire existence. Instead, it encourages non-conformity and letting go in ways which leave the real engines of repression in the society entirely intact, which even strengthen these engines by substituting the satisfactions of private and personal rebellion for a more than private and personal, and therefore more authentic, opposition. The desublimation involved in this sort of self-actualization is itself repressive inasmuch as it weakens the necessity and the power of the intellect, the catalytic force of that unhappy consciousness which does not revel in the archetypal personal release of frustration—hopeless resurgence of the Id which will sooner or later succumb to the omnipresent rationality of the administered world — but which recognizes the horror of the whole in the most private frustration and actualizes itself in this recognition.My emphasis added. I've been pretty critical of the hyperindividualism that so much characterizes our culture. Marcuse and others like him provide the grist for the proverbial mill for those wanting to push back and fight for a more substantial resistance.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Herbert Marcuse sez