Thursday, February 20, 2014

Marcuse and Portal

             Marcuse’s novel “One Dimensional Man,” is most recognized as a specific precarious identification of this present day and age while soon being taken up as a critical indictment of contemporary Western societies, capitalist, and communist.  While reading through it, I recalled it as expressing the hopes of an essential philosopher that the freedom and happiness from humans could be prominently extended beyond the one-dimensional thought and behavior in society.  This novel contains a certain theory of “advanced industrial society” which describes how many of the changes in productivity, consumption, culture, and people’s thoughts alone have produced a high sense of conformity during the production of needs and aspirations by the prevailing common contraption integrating individuals into the established societies.

 By playing the game “Portal” I’ve learned sort of a lot that I can refer back to that exemplifies Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man.  This game comprises a series of puzzles that must be solved just from teleporting the character that you are playing with and also objects by using a device that can create inter-spatial portals between two flat planes.  It is primarily used from momentum which is engaged through the different portals and requires plenty of thinking to be able to maneuver through the test chambers.  The Portals create a visual and physical connection between the two different locations in three-dimensional space.  Although this game may be challenging at times when playing, it still has its happiness at times when you do things such as make it to the next level, freedom when you’re making achievements throughout the game, and will always keep hope in your mind just like Marcuse’s novel did.

            There are many parts throughout “One-Dimensional Man” that relates back to this idea of expressing hope with freedom and happiness.  While reading through the novel, Marcuse eventually comes to a claim where he examines both communism and capitalism in order to illustrate that no matter what the ending product is, it’ll pretty much turn out the same.  What he refers to is whenever you consider things such as technology in order to control people and profits from industrial ventures.  By using this strategy, some people may think that things will be much different but no matter what the result will still be the same.

 Another situation Marcuse mentions is when looking at the role of Art and High Culture.  His illustrations are shown that Art has gone through transformation with the institution of one-dimensional realities.  The main reason is because Art is used to represent characters that went up against society and fought for their own rights.  The thing is that those same characters that are going along with what society is doing are also supporting what is to be a norm.  Obviously, it is sort of commanding for Art to get back to going AGAINST social norms instead of illustrating information in order to give more of a voice to people who don’t speak out. 

When dealing with One Dimensional realities through the institution, I like to think about Portal with its Three Dimensional space in location. One dimension is superficial because it lacks depth while three dimensional is more vivid while appearing to have more length and depth in its meaning.  This is unique to me because in the novel “One-dimensional Man,” that concept of one-dimensional actually asserts that there are other dimensions of human existence in addition to the current one that these have been removed.  So it maintains that spheres of existence have now come apart of an entire system of social domination of man by man, leaving it to appear as though there are more dimensions just like the game “Portal” and not just one.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I'm not sure what your first paragraph is trying to say. You don't need to summarize your impressions - what you need to do is actually make an argument. From the first paragraph on, you should be responding to the prompt.

I do think that approaching the relationship between Portal and Marcuse by using literal dimensions (3 dimensions vs 1) is a good idea. So the concept is fine, but the details of the argument aren't actually there. You generalize at such a high level that I couldn't really say what your argument is at all - you aren't saying anything in *particular* about any part of either the game or the book.

Any analysis, especially of difficult material like Marcuse, needs to be specific in order to succeed. That's also how you *deal* with difficulty. Rather than feeling like you need to understand and respond to everything at once, you begin with something very particular (just as an example, like how I began with the puzzle in Portal where you need to go down in order to go up.

Focus more narrowly, answer the prompt more directly, and work with particular passages in the book and/or game.