2011 | 26-27 | 371–392
Article title

Czy Erosa można jeszcze wyzwalać? Kultura masowa w świetle Marcuseowskiej koncepcji spontanicznej sublimacji

Title variants
Can Eros be more liberated? Mass Culture in Light of Marcuse’s Conception of Spontaneous Sublimation
Languages of publication
Herbert Marcuse, referring to Freud, demanded positing unrepressed childhood sexuality, characterised by polymorphous perversity and primary narcissism, as the basis for human self-realisation, which is to consist in spontaneous sublimation – that is, the process of unconstrained rationalization of the erotic drive. According to Marcuse, this would enable people – both on the individual and the social level – to live without repressing their nature and, simultaneously, to evolve in a rational and creative way. In developing these ideas, Piotr Rymarczyk – focuses on the notion of the oceanic experience, which according to Freud and Marcuse accompanies primary narcissism. He interprets it as a non-instrumental way of experiencing existence and regards it as the basis for a form of identity based the on self-affirmation of one’s own conscious and autonomous being – and not on identification with instrumentalising social roles. He also points to the possibilities of empathic identification with others provided by primary narcissism. Since Marcuse recognized art as a field where the non-repressive model of life is, to some degree, practiced even in contemporary repressive society, Rymarczyk – to illustrate the difference between the model of individual identity and life based on spontaneous sublimation and the one recommended by consumerist mass culture – tries to analyse the paintings of Frieda Kahlo and Balthus. According to him, both models are somehow founded on the body and bodily pleasures. However, in contemporary mass culture we have to do with identity based on the body treated as an external image determining the individual’s social status, and the model of life based mainly on striving for impressing others with the abovementioned glamorous bodily image and apparently hedonistic lifestyle. On the other hand, Kahlo’s and Balthis’s artworks suggest a model of identity based on identification with an animated body, which symbolizes our internal life and a model of self-realisation based on experiencing pleasures which have sensual roots, but which are enhanced by their symbolic dimension being uncovered by activity of the non-instrumental reason.
Physical description
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.