Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog 2: Prompt 1

Marcuse (One Dimensional man), and Phillip K Dick (DADES).

            There are several themes that Marcuse is passionate about in the book One dimensional man, but in relation to Phillip K Dicks book DADES, the tying factor between the two authors is Marcuse’s, distaste for technology, and his love for the arts. In ODM we see Marcuse’s distaste for technology exemplified by the damage that technology has had on our social culture. He argues, that although the advances in technology have been needed, the extent to which we depend on technology has only hurt us in the long run. As with Phillip K Dick, although he does not have vivid arguments as Marcuse does, however as a reader it is obvious the underlying themes that he plays on in his book in regards to the damaging effects that the advancements in technology has had on the world. From the cause of world war Terminus, which is as a result of advancement in nuclear weapon, we see the negative side of technology that Marcuse touches on, and how in the long run it only ends up hurting people,
            Another concept from Marcuse ODM that explains an aspect of DADES is Marcuse’s definition of  “true and false needs” he states
“False are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression; the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice…. The result then is euphoria in unhappiness. Such needs have a societal content and function, which are determined by external powers over which the individual has no control…. The only needs that have an unqualified claim for satisfaction are the vital ones-nourishment, clothing, lodging, at the attainable level of culture”.
This concept shows the insignificance of things such as Rick Deckard’s want for a real animal vs. androids. It further explains how trivial his obsession with obtaining an animal that is completely out of his reach is. He is even willing to kill to fill this need. Just as Marcuse says, these needs only bring about “aggressiveness, toil, and injustice”. Such is the injustice seen in he prosecution of the androids, just to gain bounty points to fund a need that is only necessary because someone high up in power has instilled in the masses brains that the attainment of this animal will bring you happiness, and a certain amount of status in society.
            Marcuse also states that needs regardless of whichever category they fall into true or False evolve with time. i.e. What wasn’t a need 50 years ago might be a need today. He states, “ in this sense human needs are historical needs and, to the extent to which the society demands the repressive development of the individual his needs themselves and their clam for satisfaction are subject to overriding critical standards”. This very statement can be related to DADES, as the needs of the people changed over time. All over the book we hear references to how things were before World War Terminus, and we see that things that are needs in the present time of DADES once were taken for granted. For example Rick Deckard in his obsession with animals recounts how before the war there existed hundreds of horses, an animal that is now extinct to the point that he would do anything to attain one. He states “You bring an animal like this anywhere around Colorado or Wyoming and they'll knock you off to get hold of it. You know why? Because back before W.W.T. there existed literally hundreds”. We can conclude that back before the war, horses were not prized possessions as they are now, but with time and as Marcuse states, the need to have an animal as majestic as a horse is now a need, however we can conclude that this need is a false need. i.e. a need due to societal pressures.
            Marcuse’s love for the art and his opinions of the negative effects on art can be related back to Phillip K Dicks DADES. Marcuse states in chapter 3 that: “ Now this essential gap between the arts and the order of the day, kept open the artistic alienation, is progressively closed by the advancing technological society”. By this statement he means that art, which used to be a world of open expression reserved for those who were not easily persuaded by the mass, is no longer a secret reserved, instead now due to technology is it ready and available to everyone. This is a concept that he does not agree with He believes that the exclusivity and sometimes controversial history around arts should be preserved. It is safe to say that he believes that art should be preserved in its original state and that no interference from technology should be condoned. In DADES we see an example of appreciating art without the disturbance of society or technological advances. In a scene where we observe Rick Deckard enjoy an opera without the disturbance of technology or societal pressures on him.  “Even without the Penfield mood organ at hand his spirits brightened into optimism. And into hungry, gleeful anticipation”.

            In Marcuse’s view we live in a world that has shifted from appreciation of art to a time where art is more of an accessory that is no longer appreciated, and readily available to everyone, a world where as time goes by its importance has dwindled. This and many other concepts, relating both art and technology can be seen in both Marcuse and Phillip K Dicks works.  

2 comments:

Abby Peters said...

Tolu,
I thought overall your blog was very good. The opening paragraph maps out the essay quite well. It could use some more expansion on how technology and art relate in DADES rather than just how Rick enjoys the opera. I feel that you could go more into depth about maybe how the technology of Luba being an android changes or doesn’t change Rick’s view on the art. You could also pull a few more examples of the negative sides of technology from DADES and include it in you discussion in the first paragraph if you want to revise.

Adam said...

Saying that Marcuse has a "distaste" for technology is a serious misreading, which pays no attention to the nuances of his argument (some of which we had already talked about in the class before last). Now, Marcuse is hard, and misunderstanding is easy - that's why it's best to focus on very specific aspects of his argument, rather than to make broad generalizations about such a complex text.

Your discussion of true & false needs is much more promising because it is more focused. However, you aren't really arguing that Deckard's needs are false (nor are you thinking through in detail what it means, in Marcuse, for a need to be false) - you're just assuming it. The actual details of the argument are missing...

In the third paragraph, you show a deeper understanding of Marcuse, but you are undercutting yourself. If needs are historical - that is, develop in relationship with the world and with technological possibilities - then should we easily dismiss the idea that the need for an animal might, in fact, be a true need rather than a false one? I tend to agree that classifying them as false is probably more correct, but you're not arguing that, really - you're assuming it.

Your discussion of Marcuse and art is hard to follow. Either you're having trouble with the Marcuse, or you're having trouble explaining the importance you see in it. When you move to focusing on Deckard's experience of art in the opera house, that shows that you know where the ideas about art in the two texts converge. You're heading in a very productive direction, and you may have some insightful ideas, but everything here is only beginning to move toward an argument - you aren't really saying anything coherent yet, although with the opera house you've found a legitimate place to begin.