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Eros and Civilization : A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud New Ed Edition
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As a psychotherapist intimately acquainted with developments in psychoanalytic theory in the fifty odd years since Marcuse wrote, this project involves some perils as well as some rich veins of thought. To philosophize on the basis of a theory which is derived primarily from clinical work in which two individuals share in a closed setting is always dangerous. In addition, to take Freud's formulations for granted, and then proceed to apply them to social and political systems is a big stretch. I would say primarily that the main flaw in Marcuse's thesis is his acceptance of Thanatos, or the so-called death principle, which is no longer accepted by any school of psychoanalysis. Unfortunately, Freud's own tendency to speculate both in the fields of anthropology and metaphysics, does not help Marcuse any. If one studies Talcott Parsons and his brilliant work on social systems (The Social System) using social theory, one can see a great deal of resonance with Marcuse's analysis of repression as a cultural control mechanism.
To balance the equation, I believe Marcuse brings to surface themes which have been abandoned in modern social discourse through sheer inertia and the grinding power of the repressive culture. The description of the role the inner agencies (i.e.Read more ›
He wrote in the 1966 "Political Preface" to this 1955 book, "the title expressed an optimistic, euphemistic, even positive thought, namely, that that achievements of advanced industrial society would enable man to ... use the social wealth for shaping man's world in accordance with his Life Instincts, in the concerted struggle against the purveyors of Death. This optimism was based on the assumption that the rationale for the continued acceptance of domination no longer prevailed, that scarcity and the need for toil were only 'artificially' perpetuated--in the interest of preserving the system of domination. I neglected or minimized the fact that this 'obsolescent' rationale had been vastly strengthened (if not replaced) by even more efficient forms of social control." (Pg. xi)
He observes, "The very progress of civilization under the performance principle has attained a level of productivity at which the social demands upon instinctual energy to be spent in alienated labor could be considerably reduced. Consequently, the continued repressive organization of the instincts seems to be necessitated less by the 'struggle for existence' than in the interest in prolonging this struggle---by the interest in domination." (Pg.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For me the most important part of the book is in the last section in which Marcuse have many bitter comments against Erich Fromm. Read morePublished 17 months ago by David T. Yu
In our age of "sex positive" this has become a crucial read for anyone who desires social change which will actally improve our situation.Published on January 31, 2013 by Mark Sarich
I read this book perhaps 20 years ago then came across a copy again quite recently. For those interested in an anthropological approach to psychology-as-myth (the chapter on... Read morePublished on December 30, 2005 by ramonf
The most annoying feature of this book is the the continual use of the Freudian concepts of ego, Es, and so on... in the first part. Read morePublished on August 21, 2003
Marcuse's "Eros and Civilization" lays the foundations for a major critique of the fundamental tenets of Freud's theory of the mind. Read morePublished on July 19, 2002 by wanda73
In my opinion this is a book written for teenagers. It seems that we are reading Erich Fromm. If you want to read Marcuse, try One Dimensional Man, that is one of his best books. Read morePublished on April 6, 2000