In One Dimensional Man, Marcuse opens his discussion to that of the world of art. He explores the affects technology has had on art since its emergence and resultant ubiquitous presence in our society. He claims, “the developing technological reality undermines not only the traditional forms but the very basis of the artistic alienation-that is, it tends to invalidate not only certain ‘styles’ but also the very substance of art” (Marcuse, Ch. 3). His claim argues that technology has reduced the value of art in our society because it negates the idea of alienation. He is also making a more powerful statement that with the development of technology also comes the destruction of our individual creativity and artistic ability. More generally, a society consumed by society will result in a group of disillusioned zombies glued to their technical gadgets, unable to generate ideas of their own and appreciate the beautiful things in life, like raw art.
Taking this idea into account when reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, we see that Dick validates Marcuse’s claims. The novel takes place in a world where technology has essentially taken over the lives of all those left on earth. Dick designs a dystopic world of androids in which the remaining humans are either invalids or practically mindless automatons waiting for the dust to decay them. When we are first learning about the world in which Deckard lives in Androids, Dick inserts an add that reads, “‘Emigrate or degenerate! The choice is yours!’” (Dick, Ch. 1). To further validate the point that there is not much left to live for on earth, Deckard thinks, “very true...but I can't emigrate, he said to himself. Because of my job.” (Dick, Ch. 1). This wasted earth is a result of the abuse of technology, reliance on technology to solve our problems. In a discussion of nuclear war in the introduction of Marcuse’s writing, he states, “we submit to the peaceful production of the means of destruction” (Marcuse, Intro). Earth would not be in the state of disaster that it is in in Androids were it not for our own creation of technology and alienation of ourselves.
In addition, the prevalence in technology in Androids results in very serious alterations to the humans left on the planet. There are machines designed to control your mood, “the mood organ” as well as “the empathy box” which is needed to feel a religious connection to the Christ figure in Dick’s world. For entertainment, the people of earth listen to Buster Friendly’s television or radio broadcast that runs all day, on which he features the same guests. There is no entertainment or artistic value in this. Essentially, the people of Androids have forgotten how to think for themselves in a world full of technology designed to think and do for them. They are no longer able to appreciate art in the form of religion, entertainment, or creation.
In the final analysis, Dick validates Marcuse’s claims that a world of technology would invalidate a world of art. It can be seen in Androids with the overbearing use of technology in everyone’s life in the book as well as the design of the world itself.