Herbert Marcuse Interview about One Dimensional Man (1964)

Sitting with me as dr. Herbert minutiae a professor of politics and philosophy at Brandeis University and the author of the recent book entitled one-dimensional man published by beacon press and also John Simon who's an editor of New York publishing house and we're going to be discussing dr. marcoh whose book one-dimensional man and this is a book as I understand it which is about the United States and its general thesis is that in certain significant ways we have reached situation or are reaching a situation with it which is extremely close to a totalitarian society and I think we'll begin by discussing what precisely we mean by this and I want to quote from dr. Marcus's book you're right by virtue of the way in his organized his technological base contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian for totalitarian is not only a terroristic political coordination of society but also a non terroristic economic technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests it does precludes the emergence of an effective opposition against the whole not only the specific form of government or party rule makes for totalitarianism but also a specific system of production and distribution which may well be compatible with a pluralism of parties newspapers countervailing powers etc and I wonder if you'd begin by telling us precisely what you mean in this sense by totalitarian yes may I begin by a qualifying a little what you said I wish only my book total of dear we see a United States a deal esse quotation shows with certain tendencies not more certain tendencies which I think are observable in the most advanced areas of industrial civilization the most advanced area of industrial civilization of course is the United States today but even in the United States the tendencies to which I point are prevailing if they are prevailing at or not simply beginning to show themselves only in certain advanced areas meaning as is very known that are still vast regions of under development of poverty even in the United States now by a totalitarian I used the term fully aware that this might violate certain taboos we are used to apply the term totalitarian only to well first the fascist and Nazi society then the communist society that is to say we are used to apply the term totalitarian to societies under more or less terroristic dictatorship with a one-party system with the more or less terroristic elimination of all opposition I believe that such a confined restricted use of the term totalitarian is itself ideological because it may serve to cover up the fact at least in my opinion a fact where totalitarian tendencies are beginning to show even in societies which are still democratic which preserves in democratic poses and institutions which have several parties which may even have countervailing forces by totalitarian I mean the constellation of situation enrich the private as well as public existence of man of the individual is controlled is exposed to standardised required ways of behavior standardized imposed values standardized imposed needs this can be done by a private as well as by a public you're cutting it can be done why are the correctly Democratic Media of mass communication and so on it is in a way a consequence as a quote source of technical formulas which implies mass production and mass distribution mass production and mass distribution in turn require a considerable degree of standardization a considerable degree of submission of the individual to pre given and superimposed values ideas aspirations goers and so on is this a necessary condition of this particular productive capacity and system well the tale of necessary apply to history is a very question of the term we can see in a strict sense if you mean it in the sense of a physical law nothing is necessarily an estimate I do think it is the by-product at present inevitable byproduct of the way in which technical progress actually has taken place in industrial society and this and and this this argument applies as well to societies that are organized and I more or less individualistic basis as well as those that are collectivistic aliy organized that is the same critique applies as well to the soviet union or to the countries in the Soviet bloc as it does to the United States you would you would argue that I would say it applies in the sense that similar tendencies oh I think observable there of course was vast differences based on the entirely different foundation and organization of the entire economy but in as much as the Soviet Union will very soon join the most advanced areas of industrial civilization I think the two systems will become more or less assimilated I think I think we want to make clear at this point because you do make it clear in your book that you do see differences between the Soviet Union and the United States differences and maybe you are a ground away where the obvious difference is that the society as I just mentioned is organized on an essentially different basis the collective ownership and control of the means of production regardless of whether or not you consider it as already socialist or not socialist at all is a sufficiently different form a society organized on the basis of private control and ownership of the means of production to make for decisive differences in the tendencies of development there is also if there is there not a difference in the legal basis of control by the state or is there nobody mid by legal basis well we are to some extent individuals and their own participation and their own ability to dissent are protected more in the American system than in the Soviet system they are certainly more protected they are even institutionalized as the American system they are not institutionalized in the Soviet system but precisely here I have my way I have a great fear that this institutionalization of civil rights and especially the right and Liberty to dissent is gradually eroded is reduced not much at all not by a conspiracy but simply by the mechanisms of technical goals within the framework of the established institutions which are before we get into a discussion of that particular area since we're attempting to define your use of totalitarian which I take it is quite different than say call Friedreich's use of the word oh yes I wanted to ask about the about the the applicability of the concept to the non advanced sectors of the world where particularly those countries that are now labeled socialist and are going into four extents planning and and use of many of the kinds of controls that you suggest exist in advanced industrial society Ghana Cuba Algeria for example the definition begin to apply in these countries as well on these areas that is one of the most difficult questions to raise and to answer on the one hand I would say and it may sound paradoxical although I don't think it is paradoxical that these countries precisely because they are not yet at the advanced stage of industrialization where they have to buy all the negative features of this kind of industrialization that these countries have a better chance of proceeding differently that these countries have a better chance of building form Scott a failure and a more human society but there are other impediments here namely that the vast majority of these countries is too weak in resources intellectual as well as material to do it by themselves they are by themselves as far as I can see again with some exceptions incapable of accumulating the funds capital funds that would be necessary for development and therefore will have to rely on outside help which can come only from the east or from the west and I am a friends of less this dependence on outside health would not almost inevitably these countries lead along the path that present gone either by the east or by serviced so that the idea of a third force is still a more or less a utopian idea one more question on in this general area the Isaac torture in his book the the great contest where he dealt with with issues of the Cold War which were not really central to this discussion suggested that the the potential the ultimate potential for freedom in the organization of the in in this sense of the totalitarian soviet society was far greater than existed in any area of the West because of the of the way in which the controls were applied and were used would you agree with this the formulation of mr. Deutsch is I agree up to a very definite point if Georgia wants to say that the establishment of a plant society it does not have to cope with the vested interests which otherwise stand in the way of a utilization of all available resources for the satisfaction of vital needs wherever they are still not satisfied rather than proceeding through wastes and planned obsolescence if he wants to say that I agree entirely there searching a centrally planned society in which the counteracting vested interest are indeed eliminated would have a far greater potential to develop humanity let's say in short then another society but here I think we have to place the development of Soviet society in the actual context of peaceful or rather hostile coexistence which means that the Soviet Union - at present sees itself committed to divert a vast section of its resources of the social wealth to armament production and thereby has to impose sacrifices which otherwise would not have to be imposed I think maybe it something we got to explore a little bit at this point is is it to go back to this question of the territory and the reason I come back to it I think is because it isn't the provocative word to be used in the context of modern American life one of the things you talk about in this regard is the range in the nature of choice available in this society and one should say I suppose in the first place that it seems that there is a great range of choice to some extent we have to all choose our political candidates and our pretty well our political leaders from a range of candidates we choose what the particular job you want to go to what education education we want to go to really choose a candidate or are they not chosen for us do i and you won't Weber it is choose a candidate which was actually or running order somebody else does a machine or I don't know what do it well there is a choice at least between different candidates with different points of view mr. Barry Goldwater has a different orientation I believed and then our president Johnson yes certainly are these real choices they are real choices wherever you have a real difference of opinion now I'm again God you early suspicious of the speeches and platforms and programs made before the elections they are usually hardly in any relation to what happened after the election if you have still a real difference of opinion I would say you indeed have a choice and you have freedom of choice but that is precisely what I start to doubt the mere fact is that we have two parties does not yet by itself mean that these parties differ in the accenture attitudes and opinions there may well be differences within one and the same accepted and established framework in which case both parties would compete in preserving the existing framework rather than working for alternatives if they are any alternatives one of the traditional areas of dissent aside from the political arena choice have been the academies and the distance of an intellectual community which at times historically has seen things differently than the current establishment of a society do you see in in the academies the existence of a real dissent and a real opposition of alternatives by academies you mean universities colleges and so on yes well I would say since this is precisely the field where I do have experience that is perhaps today the area which is still the freest of order my long experience with students has shown me that these students at least when they enter the university are still entirely open minded that they think by themselves that they preserve their open mind that they are highly critical and that's a really talk at least if they know that they can talk that depends on the with whom they talk gradually however the dire need makes itself first to look for a job they know perfectly well that if they go on like that if they continue to have really dissenting opinions and not only slight differences in opinion it may be very difficult for them to find a job and that sooner or later they have to adopt modes of behavior in which at least they conceal the dissent or express it in such a way that it does not cause a scandal and I certainly don't blame them for doing it but is this really is this really sufficient to explain a lack of this and there have been scholars and intellectuals who have been able to take a dissenting position in terms of publication and one thinks of individuals like Searight Mills and and in a much different sense and in a much more popular sense Vance Packard how would you account for the existence of these people and how would you account for the fact that there are not more likely I would not I say and I don't think I did say that we have no dissent and what I did say and what I mean and what I would like to repeat is we have a considerable amount of dissent we can afford this dissent because it remains completely and entirely in effective we can afford to have C right minutes we can afford to let Vance Packard say things which formally would have been very meticulously considered because our society is so strong so cohesive so a powerful that these revelations don't do it any harm and in a sense that is good but in another sense and perhaps and the deeper sentence is very bad John YES on the question I have two questions really but first I'd like to ask you about the particular phenomenon of Vance Packard uh he sells in the hundreds of thousands of copies and is in his widely read and and yet seems to have no real influence in the society it's the kind of thing that just slips off the surface that it makes perhaps a momentary impression and disappears and of course in the case of see right mills professor mills wrote a book club listen Yankee which sold over 400,000 copies and was read as I noticed by Subway's by secretaries writing on the subway and yet again made no impression the society seems not only confident to allow dissenters to exist but to allow them to be fairly widely disseminated in some cases what how would you want to comment on the phenomenon of the lack of impression of these people in the end the processes and devices by with which this is accomplished yes because I believe there's another in rushon which overrides and we consent in the last analysis destroys as the or mate it makes impotent as the impressions left as these books there is name is the impression that that never mind after our this society functions beautifully and efficiently it has succeeded in vastly increasing astonied of living in distributing its benefits over larger section of the former underprivileged population we still have these large areas of poverty but nothing proves that these areas cannot sooner or later also be taken care off so what these people reveal and indict are simply byproducts of the famous affluent society byproducts which are present we have to cope with but which are not really in any way serious and dangerous the the event in the in the recent past that seems most to bear this out it seems to me it was the assassination of the president where there existed at least the opportunity for an act and and the consequences of the active to have a deep impress on the American people and yet it was as if the the display of that for days was like another television rugged similar to show exact which we had after four days it was completely incorporated into the daily business of life there was a new president things are going on yes I'm well what I wanted to ask you was to perhaps comment a little bit more on the the the specific techniques and methods since the the mass communications industry plays such a large role in this whole process would you care to comment on that yes but again I don't want to make the impression that I consider the only thing as a conspiracy once a part of the media of mass communication we have a conspiratorial aspect they are to only a remind you of see a set of the frame of self-censorship which is exercised by the press by the movie industry whatever it is a self-censorship far more effective and far more efficient than any state instituted censor that is not the point I think that these are all these developments have a very rational basis namely precisely let our system works and because it works because it is so productive because it distributes such benefits we repress the pious which we pay for this affluence a world which by the way I would only use a in quotation marks it is this repression it is the repression of the price it cost the sacrifices that are involved which is actually that what bothers me most raises a question because thus far even speaking about such here again I use quotation marks intangibles in quotation marks is the range of choice available not being truly a meaningful choice and the social sciences and the academic institutions while tolerating some dissent nonetheless not really participating in the development and movement of the society what's wrong with the society as it now stands is there a need to change the society I mean don't after all we have haven't we if not if we haven't achieved utopia aren't we getting close to reaching utopia at least in terms of the production of material goods and physical comfort well that question leads to Z what I consider the calls or who at problem rods in a rather large cause of mine as universities a question it was a kind of examination question I asked the students I want to change I want you to tell me what is wrong was a society I never got an answer nobody could or nobody dare to tell me what is actually wrong with a society did the students want the course and knows I didn't because again I completely understand why they didn't is I want to tell me or didn't know what is wrong with it is an T I have to become a little philosophical and even a little utopian for me the world utopia makes no sense because in my view there's nothing today which could be a reason to be called utopia mankind has reached a stage where if it wanted to it could actually within a relatively short time translate into reality even the most utopian idea so the term utopia again is a subterfuge what as long as a society is that it retains that it perpetuates the struggle for existence tall frustration waste although all the intellectual and material capabilities are there to pacify this table before existence in the international arena as well as within the nation and force a private individual and by a pacification of the struggle for existence I mean something I think very concrete I expressed it in the phrase and I think your listener will listen as we know what I'm talking about the abolition of alienated labor we have reached a stage where industrial civilization really could reduce working time to such an extent that the traditional proportion between working time and free timelessly worst that free time becomes full time and working time marginal time this would involve a complete transvaluation of values it would cancel some of the most cherished abuse of the established organization for example the need for earning a living instead of making life and end in itself and not a means to attain an end which is either never attained or only in an age where you cannot enjoy it anymore this I think today is the alternative and this art relative is systematically again not in terms of a conspiracy about objectively prevented by the way in which we continue as he established direction of progress well there are two points there and it would be fair to rephrase the first part of that to say in a kind of shorthand sense that while we have the possibility of living within a society of Plenty the society is still organized as if it were a society of scarcity no for one very simple reason you don't need plenty in order to have a humane society I would even go so far and there again you will have to protect me I would even be a good so far as to say that one of the crimes of our present area you are is that we have too much there in a situation where the vast majority of the people of the earth have to litter so it is not a question of Plenty well let me change to other than the comparison between enough we had the potential of developing a society based on enough and we're still living as a society based on scarcity that's correct now the second part of that the second part of what you just said can I interrupt you I'm a question of enough and scarcity isn't it also true that that the the concept of scarcity doesn't apply because the the need to waste is so paramount injustice society certainly the need to waste as paramount as a need to waste is absolutely essential because it is a need for waste which in turn perpetuates the need for earning a living the need for growth for doing work which in fact technically is already superfluous can we make you into a bit of a visionary and ask you to discuss what the nature of a society that where the concepts of work and leisure breakdown will be like or what you would expect you cannot because we are at present I think utterly incapable to draft anything like a blueprint for such a society it is so easily ridiculed because we always assume that the individuals si have been preconditioned si are now will suddenly be placed in a situation in which as they don't have to work for a living anymore in which they don't have to earn a living anymore in which most of their time as free time and it is then very easy to say and I agree that would be a catastrophe and a detail perhaps the greatest catastrophe of the civilization it would be complete chaos it would be a nightmare there we cannot and risen envision such a society because it was so radically different from what we have now that any such vision would really be innovative responsible well let me try this comment then that we have the potential of developing however it might be organized and set up something approaching what has traditionally been considered a utopian kind of existence yes now then you then go on in the second part of your earlier statement to say that you see the society however moving and with tendencies which not only are not leading toward the establishment or existence of this kind of society but are actually leading in the other direction and this is what I wanted to to question you on because hadn't had always been true that the technological abilities of society have been ahead of the social abilities of the society to use utilize these techniques isn't this simply a question of cultural lag why isn't it that we aren't in fact slowly evolving a framework whereby we can use these technological developments to create a healthy human society because in my view it is not simply a time lag or a cultural lag in any other sense the decisive difference here is that what is in worth is not simply a better utilization and a better development of the available technical resources but what I called a radical redirection of technical progress itself and such a radical redirection of technical progress namely first to the satisfaction of vital needs and to a pacification such a radical redirection is in my view not possible within the established framework but would involve a sweeping change in our institutions which we're still institutions adopted to scarcity and not to what we potentially have now why can't this change be made let me let me also quote at this point something from your introduction that may or may not throw a light on on what I'm getting at you said here that the way in which is assigned he organizes the life of its members involves an initial choice between historical alternatives which are determined by the inherited level of the material and intellectual culture the choice itself results from the play of the dominant interests it anticipates specific modes transforming and utilized man in nature and rejects other modes etc the word I was I was looking at there with the word choice if I would not believe that such a redirection is historically possible I wouldn't have written my book as far as it choices concerned there indeed I am very pessimistic because the choice would require among other things men who live in the dire need for such a change this dire need is as I pointed out today effectively repressed it would furthermore require that these people who live in need of such a change actually have the power to bring the change about this to at present is not the case does anybody map it from this society as it's currently set up yes most certainly I think if not the majority at least a large segment of the population benefit for it and that is precisely why it is so serious a wider so pain for you that you criticize a society but I believe that Wars at stake than these benefits where to use a cliche or though I hate it I seriously believe that the chances of a human and humane existence for all without war the are at stake and in view of these chances I think one has to criticize even a society which is more beneficial to more people perhaps and any preceding society in history but in a sense it also it also doesn't it although it may benefit some members more than others it also does well it also wraps up those who benefit to some extent and and doesn't allow for their own full full development as human beings and I think this is what you meant when you spoke at one point the world to become the staff of total administration which absorbs even the administrators yes it absorbs not only the administrators it suffocates not only the need for a redirection of progress but it even does a best to arrest as a development of concepts and modes of thoughts which could define good sketch alternatives of the development not only a quantitative the changes but qualitative changes that is why I have the critique of present a positivism and a criticism which I consider a pseudoaneurysm a false and premise ism because it Orient's itself on a restricted and manipulated experience I just want to push you in this on a second and then on John I know has a question previously it might be said that a society that benefitted certain groups in the society rather than others had to be maintained in the eyes of those who benefited because it was simply impossible technologically for the group that benefited to maintain its particular benefits in an equalitarian totally equalitarian system but now we have a society where that is no longer impossible where in fact those who benefit need not give up very much in order to share their benefits with the others in the society through the advent of automation cybernetics and these techniques also in the current situation isn't it true that those who benefit could benefit more in a different social situation why then isn't it possible that traditional leadership groups themselves could at this point under these conditions make the transition to a different kind of society because it would be as far as I draw the first case of their story in which a invested and intentionally darshan or a ruling class if you wish has voluntarily abdicated the chances that the a not benefit the way they benefit now the risk of serious disruptions and even of a catastrophe and Worf is such that they will understandably not be willing to voluntarily to institute so exchanges direct from in the same society I think argues that they're um are are certain strong reasons why those who even those involved in leadership do not benefit as greatly into society as they could from a different kind of society couldn't this act is a sufficient stimulation to Lana where leadership tonight a transition there no as far as I remember Indian spy that simply well for example that the rich are not happy now in the first place I never took that very seriously and I don't believe that the unhappiness or so it should really be a matter of serious concern and in the second place I don't think you can interpret this reluctance primarily in Psychological terms what is involved after all is a deed to speak perfectly frankly a fundamental change and as he established political and economic institutions has already indicated for example a plant economy really plant economy with priority set on the satisfaction of needs is not compatible with the present private control of the economy with these individual one final question on this point with these with this leadership be giving up much more than simply a question of status and leadership would they be giving up any material conditions of livelihood again looking back at history it is at least possible or probable that they would indeed have to give up much of what they have now that others would move in we want to do it in a different way that I would indeed say John yes you describe an a contradiction or an antagonism between the need for change and I assume this is a kind of objective need that exists without the wishes or rub or feelings of of anyone and the repression of the expression of the need for this change now do you foresee in any in any sense perhaps even in the classical Marcion sense a breakdown based on this kind of contradiction in the system that will force some kind of change perhaps not the one that we want or the one that you foresee the possibilities of such a breakdown are such that I think that yields a most rabid Marxist would wish them for example I could imagine that a nuclear war or even a short of in declare war a large-scale international war would release the forces that may make for such a redirection of progress but who's insane enough to wish that you don't see it see such a breakdown stemming from less cataclysmic factors like stagnation within the economy or some kind of breakdown in the in the arrangement and organization of our social and sexual mores for example there's a group in among writers for example Norman Mailer in particular who talks about the sexual revolution these factors have any significance to your way of thinking could we expand sexual other kind of a whole moral Christ yes well that's what I think there is more lovely disasters and almost cubital applications of the term evolution we have in our evolution of the coca-cola company brings out the bottle it is a revolution and bottling we have a revolution in the order and whoever a loom evolution and everything only we don't have a revolution rather the only field in which the term revolution makes any sense I don't see a sexual revolution at all on the contrary as I try to point out in my book I see a very nice very welcome and very as pleasurable and pleasant adaptation of sexual mores to the requirements of the affluent society which simply cannot do any more with a Victorian morality that has nothing to do with an evolution took to follow up on that the this very pleasant development than our sexual and social mores that you talk about seems to develop somewhat in opposition to the to the non terroristic totalitarian izing of a society yes well no I doubt even let doubt even let because the more sexual freedom people have within the established within the establishment and without being punished by the establishment the easier they are to guide the easier they are to manipulate now please don't misunderstand me I will be the last to condemn this liberation and sexual morality let me ask you a question historically uh maybe you can answer you don't want to or can't answer this but and this I thought of this one John brought up the question of the web llama use of a revolution that changes in our sexual mores in addition we find certain tendencies taking place in art and literature and also in the use of drugs which seem possibly to be interrelated here there's been a great deal of talk about another revolution the the drug revolution the use of consciousness expanding drugs were with mr. Timothy Leary and if if International Federation for internal freedom and similarly artists in perhaps analogous Y and in Abstract Expressionism in tendencies like this have have developed an art form which becomes at least to me so solipsistic that it almost ceases to have any relevance other than for oneself are there historical parallels and these kinds of developments and other social tendencies and developments and when one here is a great deal I I was thinking of the decline of the Roman Empire for example as being a time of libertine ism and a concern with extreme individuality the period following the French Revolution yes rather period following the French Revolution the period of Sydney liked was slightly different because there did you at a considerable degree of genuine freedom in these things provided you belong to deter a nest away the others didn't have it and never did have it as far as it dogs are concerned this is very close to my heart because again unfortunately in the universities you know we are very much concerned with it in this respect I'm a terrible reactionary as in many other aspects I think that Doc's are reprehensible and that the only case in which they are to be welcomed is in case of pain of insufferable physical pain in all other cases they cannot possibly do what these people pretend as they do especially not an art literature development of consciousness or these if any singer acts of human freedom and if they are not the development at attainment of human freedom they will invariably a compressor opposite over they are supposed to be air to accomplish namely some kind of illusionary a happiness illusory contentment illusory experience which again may very well become a vehicle of adjustment rather than the opposite but isn't the ability in a certain sense to to take drugs which can expand your personal individual consciousness to their greatest extent if in fact this is what they do or to work in art forms which which expands one one's own feelings and emotions to the utmost isn't this really a kind of liberation and freedom which is unparalleled in history well maybe it is a revelation form things for which you shouldn't be liberated because they are precisely the very essence of the present state of affairs and if you liberate yourself artificially form it what you actually do is not develop your consciousness but arrest your consciousness in other words this isn't so much a freedom to as a freedom from exactly you talk to the misuse of the term revolution would you apply the the same approbation to the use of the term in in the context of the civil rights movement the Negro revolution as well do you see this in other words as a as a sign as a factor for change in the Society of a significant sword feet before you mention that I let me just point out but I think what possibly were working toward is some is is to see whether or not there are areas in which or forces within the society which offer an opportunity for social change of some kind am I wrong John no yeah that's right yes it is certainly this movement certainly is a movement towards social change I would not call it a revolution because I personally cannot understand how you can call a revolution a movement which tries to implement the principles of the Declaration of Independence I mean as a mere fact that we have to have such a movement today almost 200 years after the Declaration of Independence I think characterizes our society sufficiently it is not a revolution it will see a effort to finally to translate into reality and what was promised a centuries ago the promise was which actually modern society began and which is still not translated into reality see right mills dealt with two other groups within the society namely the labor movement and the intellectuals would you apply the same criticism to both of these groups you want to deal with them in turn I did not apply any criticism as far as I remember to the civil rights movement into the Negro movement as far as far as a lady I didn't mean criticism had sense but an estimate of every yes as far as labor movement is concerned or I can say is that at present organized labor in the United States and not only in the United States has nothing to do anymore of this and what Marx wants court as a polity reott and the develop a consciousness and see revolutionary potential off as apologia organized labor has today become one of the countervailing powers their cooperating wizards counter countervailing power in the strengthening and improvement of the powers that be again I certainly do not say that in any way as a kind of accusation or indictment only in order to characterize as the difference between the present state of affairs and the julep to 19th century and in this country the turkeys would a class analysis of the society still have any meaning given the the widespread affluence and the repression of any significant consciousness of problems within the society I can't help it but I do believe that we still have a class Society a class Society is not characterized by the increasing higher standard of living of the wid classes what is characterized today most outspokenly characterized by the fact that we have one group or class which by virtue of its position in the social and economic process decides and determines the fate of the entire population and that the majority of the population again by virtue of they are positioned in the social and economic process is really not in any way self determinating in speaking of classes let me only first bring up something else when you speak of of social change and how it takes place and I'll quote here you say first which we've already said the choice is primarily but only primarily the privilege of those groups which have attained control over the productive processes their control projects the way of life for the whole and the ensuing and enslaving necessity is the result of their freedom then you say and the possible abolition of this necessity pens on a new ingression of freedom not any freedom but that of men who comprehend the given necessity as insufferable pain and as unnecessary so that here you set up with your criteria of social change a group which is I would say from this almost totally excluded from benefit to the society and you make this clear as you said earlier in terms of labor movement and you also make it clear when you speak of of the people in general and their ability to change the situation where you argue that in the redistribution of wealth and equalization of classes there is simply a new stratification characteristic of advanced industrial society and not any basic chance to change that method of stratification and ratification but then you close your book and this is only the last half page out of 257 it's true when you say however underneath the conservative popular base is the substratum of the outcasts and Outsiders the exploited and persecuted of other races and colors the unemployed and unemployable they exist outside the democratic process they're their life their life is the most immediate in the most real need for ending intolerable conditions and institutions thus their opposition is revolutionary even if their consciousness is not the fact that they start refusing to play the game maybe the fact which marks the beginning of the end of the period now is the fact that you spend only a half-page in this in any a sense characteristic of your evaluation of the possibility of this tendency only partly characteristic the other part is that as I say only the beginnings that may mark easy beginnings these group still are too powerless to accomplish a change by themselves what I would like to add here that if I speak of the ingestion of a new freedom motivated by the awareness of intolerable the conditions that does not necessarily and exclusively me and abject poverty and misery I for example can very well envisage conditions under which the social groups which are not prefer which are not a little in a live which do not live in misery become aware of the insanity of a society in which they have to continue in which their to continue alienated labor continual performances which they actually hate continue the struggle for existence which has become more and more a trace in the face of as impossible abolition of loyalties and that this awareness may well spread and become one of those potentially changing forces there currently are a number of programs taking place throughout the country and of course the one that have gotten the most press recently of the Appalachians for Appalachia but also here in New York City and elsewhere in Oakland California there have been a number of programs in which an enormous amount of money is being spent in extremely small locations and an attempt to take this particular group of the population and somehow integrate them into the society and I'm thinking of a project like the one going on in Harlem which is going to in which eighty million dollars is going to be invested or one on the Lower East Side which I believe has been allocated 120 million dollars and as I understand it much of this money has come from extremely sophisticated extremely sophisticated area of the leadership of the nation do you think that these kinds of programs or any kind of program will be able to reduce the number of those who are unemployed and unemployable in other words which way do you see this tendency going do you see this this potentially revolutionary group increasing report or decreasing that is very hard to say because it depends entirely on the national and international situation as to the project you mentioned naturally any and every project that produces even in a small area misery and poverty and dirt is good and should be supported but without illusions that they do not have the key for the decisive change and it seems to be a clear because this is not a local Messiah but a fire that not only concerns the nation as a whole about a soup national core to John normal well let me ask one final question what do you see and I think in a sense you've answered this what do you see the role of of scholars and intellectuals to be given this particular state of society where there doesn't seem to be at least if your analysis is correct much concrete action that can be done at this point and indeed I'd say your analysis is a rather pessimistic one yes it is a pessimistic one and precisely in this situation as the intellectual the scholar perhaps has a more responsible or than he ever had before because it is his task today against all a apparent or real success to preserve or rather to develop those concepts those ideas those aspirations which do not succumb to the oil or the seeming benefits of any presence aasaiya t but which concepts and modes of thought which remain loyal to the essentially o it hopes and aspirations of mankind for a society in which as a struggle for existence as a deed pacified this is today and more than ever before a real possibility and the entire power and the entire wealth of our society is at present directed against this possibility precisely because it is over here so in this situation discolor and the intellectual has one of the most decisive tasks thank you very much we've been talking to dr. Herbert mark who's a professor of philosophy at Brandeis University and author of a recent for one-dimensional man published by beacon press and John Fannin an editor of a New York publishing house
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