Marcuse’s “Eros & Civilization”

This is a short review I did over at Goodreads. I wanted to talk about it on here too because this book, although older, contains ideas I think might be of interest to those interested in looking at the connections between mental well-being and environment/society. Which plays into radical mental health…

Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into FreudEros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud by Herbert Marcuse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Building upon Freud’s theories of human development, Marcuse explores how civilization as we know it (hierarchical, primarily)has come to depend on subjugating the Eros principle (sexuality, sensuality, pleasure, and Agape love seems to be jumbled in there) through the creation of a superficial sort of morality and sense of taboo to the Work principle, which at this point is dedicating to maintaining status-quo and the edification of the few that set it. Humanity has long since overshot work for survival or to meet the needs of the self or community and civilization is no longer fully partaken in by all. Pleasure is granted in dollops and now functions as a commodity. Marcuse questions if this is the only way a civilization can function. He also, despite using the works of Freud as his starting point, maintains a healthy skepticism of the psychiatric industry as it stands, noting that mental wellness is measured against whatever is defined as the current “normal”.Recommended for anyone who suspects we’re being sold a false bill of goods from head to toe.

I could do without his dismissals of Jung’s work though. I like Jung. I did like his observation toward the end of equating “positive thinking” mantras and such with the push towards mass conformity.

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3 thoughts on “Marcuse’s “Eros & Civilization”

  1. Pingback: A Smash Journal + A Found Religious Text = Babalon (NSFW) | Notes From The Devil Dollhaus

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