In this classic work, Herbert Marcuse takes as his starting point Freud's statement that civilization is based on the permanent subjugation of the human instincts, his reconstruction of the prehistory of mankind - to an interpretation of the basic trends of western civilization, stressing the philosophical and sociological implications.
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(198mm x 129mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
The assumption that political disturbance in our time has become vastly similar to disturbance within the individual psyche - this assumption somehow leads to a prolonged analysis of Freud's instinct theories, especially the conflict between life and death forces and their corresponding conflict in society- and this analysis of Freudian dogma in turn ends in discovering Hope for Modern Man and also no hope for Freudian revisionists. The sequence gets a bit out of hand. If the dialectics are subtle and meticulous, they also become overdetermined. Freud's contentions that adult personality is only a poor bargain struck by "the reality principle" between the individual's unreasoning desires and the demands of society- such a contention, however valuable, can never be taken as final authority on the fats of man. Finding a "way out" of the Freudian Scylla and Charybdis through some loophole in the libidinal economy is perhaps interesting but neither vital nor redemptive. Moreover, dismissing the contributions of the Washington School, as well as Jung, Reich, and Fromm, seems too harsh a judgment on the strength of a passage or two. The familiar remark about lifting from context is here true as ever. The author, astonishingly enough, is not a psychologist but a professor of political science at Brandeis University For confused intellectuals, questing after solutions to social ills, a message in code. (Kirkus Reviews)
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