Against Adaptation: Lacan's Subversion of the Subject

A close reading of Lacan’s most difficult and famous essay on the subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire.

Philippw Van Haute picks up the challenge of explaining to us, line by line, the most difficult and intriguing text of Lacan’s Écrits. All that is required is to open Écrits to page 292 and follow the lucid and pedagogical instruction provided by Van Haute. Leaving to stone unturned, he moves with amazing mastery between all of Lacan’s texts and gives coherence to Lacan’s often elliptic developments.

“The psychoanalytic liberation of memory explodes the rationality of the repressed individual.”

“The psychoanalytic liberation of memory explodes the rationality of the repressed individual. As cognition gives way to re-cognition, the forbidden images and impulses of childhood begin to tell the truth that reason denies.”

― Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud

One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society by Herbert Marcuse

One of the most important texts of modern times, Herbert Marcuse's analysis and image of a one-dimensional man in a one-dimensional society has shaped many young radicals' way of seeing and experiencing life. Published in 1964, it fast became an ideological bible for the emergent New Left. As Douglas Kellner notes in his introduction, Marcuse's greatest work was a 'damning indictment of contemporary Western societies, capitalist and communist.' Yet it also expressed the hopes of a radical philosopher that human freedom and happiness could be greatly expanded beyond the regimented thought and behaviour prevalent in established society. For those who held the reigns of power Marcuse's call to arms threatened civilization to its very core. For many others however, it represented a freedom hitherto unimaginable.

An Essay on Liberation by Herbert Marcuse

Marcuse, the author of One-Dimensional Man, argues that the traditional conceptions of human freedom have been rendered obsolete by the development of advanced industrial society. An Essay on Liberation outlines the new possibilities for contemporary human liberation.
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