The Aesthetic Dimension (Papermacs)

The Aesthetic Dimension (Papermacs)

Herbert Marcuse makes a compelling case for moving art and aesthetics to the forefront of critical theory. Only art, Marcuse contends, continues to function as an appropriately balanced social conscience – reminding us not only of lofty purposes beyond ourselves,but of our own need for pleasure and delight. In art Marcuse still finds a freedom he feels is too often missing from other forms of human experience. Aesthetics, he concludes, is the only form of expression that can take up where religion and philosophy fail, and serve as a last refuge of two-dimensional criticism in a one-dimensional society. Marcuse tells us hopefully, we may yet be able to find, in art, a refiguration of humanity’s lost harmony with the universe – or the prefiguration of a new harmony yet to come.

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