2/5 Marcuse and One-Dimensional Man

If you look around now there's never been a period the history of the world where more people believe more completely nutty things and you just you watch a Current Affair Elvis is still alive UFOs landed in Alabama which always freaks me out I mean how come if intelligent beings from another world are going to land somewhere they don't land in chicago or washington but always in alabama next to uncle Billy you know who's sitting there going red I saw him right over there it's no landing damn Chicago if you're really a higher intelligence land somewhere where somebody can take a picture of your something know they always some backwater in Alabama or Mississippi anyway UFOs a poltergeist Oh see you couldn't even list all it all the the myths in a year why well because science marked off this terrain of reason but outside it it pays no attention it gives no guidance why are there things outside of instrumental reason at all that's the theme of the whole course the self under siege could never find meaning in this denuded form of thinking and living for all that you're up to is making rational decisions one after another that's not a rich enough notion of experience or human life so what we have is on the one hand the sort of enlightenment instrumental reason that is for sure necessary for the sciences and so on and on the other the ways in which people today try to get meaning are just incredibly bizarre incredibly bizarre I mean I'll be moving shortly out to California where I think they have a new religion a week the religion of the week club drive through religions they worship crystals and I've talked about these other forms of pseudo pagan body worship that America now engages in you know I mean there was nothing there's no con except to skin that corresponds to the current concept of skinniness I mean you know I'm a little a little fat and in this age that is a mortal sin worse than mortal sin I mean skinniness is in religion and we've got lots of mythic religions the Enlightenment in other words carried myth right along with it it did not kill it and it may be that this intent weinmann of enlightenment in mythology is what is most important to understand about the situation that we're in now by that I mean in the late 20th century because now our technologies are themselves quasi mythological virtual reality you know you have a movie about virtual reality a guy gets in a suit it enters a world of neural networks and goes I am God here you know this is this is pretty pagan stuff except for one small thing they can build these things otherwise we would be laughing about it except they can build them and if you don't believe that they that the first replicant or cyborg they build will be Elvis Presley you're already wrong you know there will be a lot of money in rebuilding and Elvis the first cyborg our I predicted I own film I'll be captured for the ages the first successful cyborgs will be Elvis because you're just having right back to King and probably there'll be a national vote on whether we want to build a young or the old Elvis me so that's the funny part the unfunny part is that I do believe this int Wineman of myth and reason is very real a film that's a classic film that shows it is dr. Strangelove wonderful performance with Peter Sellers great maybe if you haven't seen it please see it directed by Stanley Kubrick in which one of the most famous examples of rationality under this heading occurs and that's the arms race both sides keep building and building and building and building and building and every move by one side calls for it's a ride tional move by the other the only problem is that if it continued the outcome would not have been rational far from it far from it the outcome would not have been rational so that's a yes sorry that maybe captures that nicely and let me see that come up with one other example because there are many many of these ah the economy is filled with them let's take trying to start a union let's say you want a union and when American workers used to have them we had steadily rising wages we had the years and years and years since we haven't had many unions we haven't had that may be a connection there I don't know but trying to start a union always suffers this problem you have to transcend instrumental reasons to start a union because it's not rational for the first three people to join you follow me the first three it's not rational you have to convince them there's a bigger rationality than theirs at stake something that transcends their selfhood or they're not or you haven't got a union so when if you don't do that the total outcome for all the workers is itself irrational namely they are then forced to negotiate against the Power greater than themselves at a massive disadvantage rather than to have equals negotiate these things again this is a case where individual instrumental reason left to its own produces irrational results now let me give you a classic one that even analytic philosophers know about it's in game theory that's something that analytic philosophers love game theory it's beautiful for them it's called the paradox of the downs here is the guide you have to sheep herders and each of them have 100 sheep and there are downs out there enough to feed a hundred sheep one sheep herder on this side of the game and the other on this side and they get to start simultaneously what is the maximally rational policy to follow well the maximally rational policy according to game theory is to drive your sheep on to the downs as fast as possible and have them start grazing the trouble is that when you both do that you don't lose a hundred sheep you lose 200 it's a lose-lose guide that's the problem there you've got two mutually rational actors doing the mutually rational thing and the outcome is irrational now I've gone through this at some length because this is going to be the heart of a crypt of a criticism of modern technological society that mark user will raise this is at the heart of his criticism it is not his criticism that our society should just throw away instrumental reason should just give up on thinking scientifically that's not it at all it's that if we don't find a more balanced approach to ourselves the world other people than instrumental rationality we are lost so let me run through just a little bit of his basic argument
YT Stats Views: 0 Likes: 0 Dislikes: 0