Law School Discussion

Consumer Fraud?

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2012, 04:03:17 PM »

niki, Freudian theories do not necessarily rule out a free, non-repressive society. Freud's speculation that civilization is originally based on a necessary sexual repression recognized for its merits, it has been suggested that:

(1) only a part of this has come from the conditions of scarcity which obliged humans to work, with another part coming from living in class-divided societies where ruling classes impose an extra repression over and above that arising from natural scarcity,

(2) with the coming of automation and the like, scarcity has now been conquered. This being so, sexual repression - that imposed by natural conditions as well as that imposed by class-divided society - is no longer necessary. Civilization need no longer be based on sexual repression. A free, non-repressive society is possible.

Herbert Marcuse has in fact explained why people accept capitalism -- they have been psychologically manipulated into wanting it. In other words, their basic "instincts" have been remoulded so as to fit in with capitalist society. The issue now is how will such people come to want to get rid of capitalism.


I would like to comment on the above part of copain's post -

Marcuse basically says that, 'surplus repression' designates sexual repression beyond that's necessary for the civilization; being the result of social domination in an economically and politically authoritarian society. Capitalism, as a system dependent on extracting surplus labor from workers, so that the latter will produce more value for less cost, must pull from somewhere the extra physical energy necessary for this exploitation. That "somewhere" turns out to be the most marginal aspects of our sexuality, specifically non-genital and "perverse" sexuality, or those kinds of sexual activity that are designated as taboo by the patriarchal, monogamous family structure because they are unnecessary for the biological reproduction - the form of sexuality considered "necessary" by the capitalism.

It appears, at least according to H. Marcuse, that the repression of sexual energy not necessary for monogamous, heterosexual family life, is diverted into labor; simultaneously people's erotic lives are shaped to conform to the demands of a hierarchically organized, patriarchal society. As a result, "perversions" such as homosexuality are, for Marcuse, at least potentially encouraging signs of rebellion against repression, rather than symptoms of excessive repression. He says that the perverts express rebellion against the subjugation of sexuality under the order of procreation, and against the institutions that guarantee this order.

So, while some sexual repression is necessary for the building of civilization, capitalism requires an extra degree of surplus repression in order to extract a greater amount of labor from people and to blunt their capacity for pleasure, since an understanding of pleasure can fuel one's desire for liberation. Sexual deviants, including homosexuals, are thus part of a vanguard rejecting the surplus sexual repression of capitalism.

It stands, thus, to reason, that the non-productive act of anal sex and the unrestrained promiscuity of "cruising," stand as examples of the boundlessness of human desire and possibility for bodily fulfillment. This unregulated pleasure, he argues, is too disruptive and too undisciplined to be conducive to authoritarian society or capitalist production. Gay men, through guiltless cruising and hook-ups, exemplify a free sexuality that's incompatible with capitalism and that is more natural and freer than mono heterosexuality.

qmo - interesting points -

1. You mention the monogamous patriarchal family - nowadays, we are all aware that 50% of marriages end up in divorce, so it's safe to say that the traditional patriarchal family is in decline.

2. You also point to procreation and biological reproduction, happening as the result of the "normal" heterosexual relationship between a man and a woman, one that's promoted by the society (for that very reason) - well, these days there's widespread dissemination of birth control (condoms/female condoms, IVRs) - meaning, for instance, that the couple can choose exactly how many children wants to have, planning beforehand how to raise them, thus allowing the woman to go to work just like her husband, and become economically self-sufficient.

Not to mention these days' liberation of sexuality from necessary association with reproduction (IVF) - I bet you can just imagine how women too "cruise" nowadays - for all kinds of things, you know, the tallest guy, the most well-endowed one, the smartest one, or just-the-average-one, when it comes to making babies, since you do not know how the genes will mix up - or do ya?! ;)

I would say today's norm is anonymous sex with multiple partners, having, as we are, as much quick sex (unfortunately without the necessary accompanying affection), pretty much anywhere we can. It's about time that that "purposeful subversion of moral order" will show itself for what it really is.