Marcuse: ‘Controlled Desublimation’


The concept of controlled desublimation would imply the possibility of a simultaneous release of repressed sexuality and aggressiveness, a possibility which seems incompatible with Freud’s notion of the fixed quantum of instinctual energy available for distribution between the two primary drives. According to Freud, strengthening of sexuality (libido) would necessarily involve weakening of aggressiveness, and vice versa. However, if the socially permitted and encouraged release of libido would be that of partial and localized sexuality, it would be tantamount to an actual compression of erotic energy, and this desublimation would be compatible with the growth of unsublimated as well as sublimated forms of aggressiveness. The latter is rampant throughout contemporary industrial society. 

Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man, 73
After a sudden urge to reread Marcuse on the “unhappy consciousness” the other day, I came across the above quote that got me thinking about……(to be continued)



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