mercoledì 29 giugno 2016

Through Sartre and Marcuse: For a Realistic Utopia

by Federico Sollazzo (; II of 2) 

              So for Marcuse the term utopia has not a negative connotation; this degrading meaning plays alongside and in favour of the status quo. On the contrary, the utopian idea, as Marcuse thinks it, is a negation or a refusal of the actual in favour of the realistic possible, and so it keeps alive the possibility of a world qualitatively distinct from this one by virtue of the permanent transcending of what is already given. And this commitment is very urgent in a world which believes that the liberty, without discern between the false and the authentic one, has already been achieved, without realizing the dynamics of increasing reification to which it is submitted[1]. Philosophy, not as a particular discipline among the others, an accumulation of specialist knowledge, but as dialectical thought, can show that things do not go this way. In fact, dialectical philosophy and imagination can present an alternative reality, which is in itself a critique of the established order of things, not merely because they imagine and speak about alternatives, but, this is the point, because imagination and dialectical thought can grasp the reality in its totality, as a whole, and by virtue of this can delineate realistic possibilities.
            In other terms, the imagination makes possible a more comprehensive, and therefore more “realistic”, representation of the world. This way it can born a sort of imaginative map reliable over the limits of the factual details (scientific realism) because it includes them in a more comprehensive overview, which is at the same time realistic (because it begins from the reality) and critical (because it transcends the reality). This is the realistic utopia which Marcuse describes as that Great Refusal where the imaginative potential of art lies, the only authentic revolutionary potential.

The Great Refusal is the protest against the unnecessary repression, the struggle for the ultimate form of freedom - 'to live without anxiety'. But this idea could be formulated without punishment only in the language of art. In the more realistic realm of political theory and even philosophy, it was almost universally defamed as utopia[2]