This weekend the following youtube video was published: ‘Ideologie houdt ons gelukkig. Een gesprek met Marian Donner (Ideology keeps us happy. A talk with Marian Donner). Her new book De Grote Weigering (The Big Refusal) was the main focus of this talk. This book is for a large part based on the book One-Dimensional Man published by Herbert Marcuse in 1964. In this book he argues the following:

He argues that “advanced industrial society” created false needs, which integrated individuals into the existing system of production and consumption via mass media, advertising, industrial management, and contemporary modes of thought.

This results in a “one-dimensional” universe of thought and behavior, in which aptitude and ability for critical thought and oppositional behavior wither away. Against this prevailing climate, Marcuse promotes the “great refusal” (described at length in the book) as the only adequate opposition to all-encompassing methods of control. Much of the book is a defense of “negative thinking” as a disrupting force against the prevailing positivism.

It is very hard to realize this one-dimensionality. Most people see themselves are ordinary, ‘normal’, simply living their lives as they see fit. Picking their shopping each week, picking their apps and living with them, getting children or not, picking a partner, or a partner for a couple of years. Most people see themselves as an individual, with its own specific wishes and desires and wants and needs.

But of course most people are shaped through the same industrial society with its mass media, advertising, industrial management and contemporary modes of thought. Most people are extremely alike.

Published on May 17, 2022 at 6:00 by

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