Denis Collin, Sébastien Barbara
Why return to Herbert Marcuse today? Referred to by commentators as the inspiration behind the protest movements of 1968, classed among the “Freudo-Marxists”, it seems that he is somewhat forgotten today. Wrongly. Marcuse is first of all a philosopher who is inspired by the great tradition of German philosophy, that of Kant, Hegel and Marx. A scrupulous commentator on Hegel, Marcuse produces an invigorating critical reading, far from ready-made ideas about this eminent master. Faithful to Marx – but not to standard Marxisms, which earned him the hostility of all the guardians of the Marxist temple – he closely linked social criticism to Freud's analytical theory. In short, with Marcuse, we are invited to explore a whole section of modern culture. But Marcuse is also one of the thinkers of critical theory. Its object is the advanced industrial society, ours. One might think that his works describe our present when they were written half a century ago and more. "Repressive desublimation", the use of the pleasure principle for the benefit of domination, is something that has taken on a scale today that one could hardly suspect when Marcuse wrote Eros and civilization or The one-dimensional man. How not to see that the indefinite extension of marketing and communication techniques produce this one-dimensionality of thought that Marcuse analyzes and denounces so vigorously? Finally Marcuse is a philosopher of culture. Art and the sense of beauty are, for him, essentially liberating. If he continues to think that political emancipation and the transformation of social relations are necessary, he knows that human liberation is that of the individual who must regain possession of himself by getting rid of alienation. It is not a question of designing a more rational future but above all the prospect of a freer and more beautiful life.
416 pages | ISBN: 9782315007301