Sunday, August 9, 2015

Historical quote of the day

“Remembrance of the past may give rise to dangerous insights, and the established society seems to be apprehensive of the subversive contents of memory.

Remembrance is a mode of dissociation from the given facts, a mode of ‘mediation’ which breaks, for short moments, the omnipresent power of the given facts.

Memory recalls the terror and the hope that passed. Both come to life again, but whereas in reality, the former recurs in ever new forms, the latter remains hope.” – Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man [sigh] (1964)
There’s much that annoys me about Herbert Marcuse: his vicious attack on the neo-Freudian “revisionists” [gasp!] Erich Fromm and Karen Horney (and Harry Stack Sullivan), wrong on so many levels; 90% of Eros and Civilization (the other 10% is splendid); his excessive fondness for the word “explosive”; and even some of the central arguments in One-Dimensional Man, including in the chapter from which these lines are taken, on “The Closing of the Universe of Discourse.” But there’s also a lot that’s worthwhile, and the section on “the subversive contents of memory” and their suppression in contemporary political language stands out.

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