MARCUSE’S CRITIQUE OF CONTEMPORARY CULTURE AND ART
Text topic: An Ethical Reading of Art
Text author: Тања Тодоровић
According to Marcuse, contemporary culture is becoming one-dimensional. This means that we are witnessing an abolishment of differences between various cultural strata where everyone becomes a consumer of such (contemporary) art. However, the differences among real economic strata of society remain large. For these reasons Marcuse determinates modern society as irrational. When discussing the question of culture, Marcuse is discussing it in its broader sense where culture incorporates politics, education, art, religion and philosophy. Art, philosophy and religion serve as means to maintain the existing social order, according to Marcuse, where an individual is free to think but only within the confinements of patterns previously set out by society. As a consequence, education is set out to prepare an individual to manage within the confinements set up by the existing free market and it is focused primarily on positive science while leaving the question of social changes aside. As a consequence, an individual is less and less interested in political developments. Thus, Marcuse emphasizes that the criticism of the existing culture must be based on real social and economic processes, approaching the view of German idealism but also the view later expressed by Marx in his criticism of contemporary culture.