Marcuse problems of technology and the ways in

Marcuse
has a strong critique of consumerism as a form of social control. He argues
that consumerism led to a new kind of social pattern in which our deep drive
for freedom was traded off for false needs. Marcuse criticized the consumption
relationship between workers and products. Workers are dominated by products by
working to make them and by working to buy them. Is there a practical solution
to these problems? To find a solution to a problem, we must first find the
cause and Marcuse is quite vague in defining who is to blame. He never points
fingers at any cause. The reading is generally pessimistic about the
possibilities for overcoming the “one dimensional” tendency of industrial
societies, as well as overcoming the domination that advertising and
technological progress have provided. As mentioned previously, Marcuse’s ideas
were considered radical and I believe this is because he is essentially calling
for the society to be overthrown, but once again, he never really says this
explicitly. Perhaps he is recommending an upheaval of an already existing state
as this seems more practical. I think Marcuse understood that the repression
experienced was so systemic and subversive that it was not identifiable and
that is why he doesn’t offer many solutions or causes to the problem.

In
reading excerpts from One-Dimensional Man, I found it difficult to read, the
language used is challenging, dense and speaks to a sort of arrogance not only
in the words chosen but also in the underlying notion that people within the
given society are not smart enough to realize the one-dimensionality
developing. That aside, it does not make his ideas any less important. In some
ways Marcuse ideas are more applicable than ever, he had a great deal to say
about the problems of technology and the ways in which people end up serving
technology rather than the other way around. He has a strong stance on the
effects of consumerism, which is very prevalent today. For Marcuse one of the
things that people have given up in their pursuit of satisfying false needs is
the ability to think for themselves and with so many things influencing people
today, its still very hard to think completely independently. Marcuse himself
is not exempt from this. Just because Marcuse was a Frankfurt theorist does
that mean his critiques are truly without bias? He did himself, live in the
society with which he was working. He provides a grim outlook, but he also advocated
the need for critical, independent thought, something which is always needed in
any society. His theory on alienation can help people realize their
unintentional ability to ignore reality, and that if individuals choose, they
can prevent further alienation. Marcuse’s criticism on consumerism and advanced
industrial societies allowed people to comprehensively understand consumerism
which was very novel at the time. Marcuse helped redefine what freedom truly
means and shed light on the need for individuals to balance their mental
well-being while making educated choices on what they consume.

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Marcuse
pointed out how totalitarianism can perpetuate the struggle for existence
amongst the oppressed. He also elaborated the role that science and technology
played in modern day consumerism and capitalism. By pointing out these
potential problems Marcuse aided the creation of a higher class consciousness. As
a Frankfurt theorist, he openly criticizes society for having the means and
capabilities to help the oppressed and yet continuing to think one
dimensionally. All of which are important topics to make known to the general
public. Through One Dimensional Man we can make understandings and criticisms
suitable for today and use them to aid in helping individuals. To fix the
problems would require the society as a whole to educate themselves on poverty,
advertising and the environmental impacts of their decisions, but in the same
vein, education does not necessarily mean change. It is not a choice between
consumption or no consumption therefore to make a change in society, social
transformation in necessary. This is why One-Dimensional Man created such an
uproar in society, it called for change and Marcuse did not take a positivist
approach.  His work remains immensely
valuable for insights into the kind of headspace individuals were in during the
1960s. The crucial, and underlying point that Marcuse makes is that the decisions
people make are heavily influenced by their environment, those within an
affluent industrial society must recognize the world around them, educate
themselves, ask questions and take responsibility for their actions.