Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Scholars and activists

Brian Gonsalves Bio

Gonsalves, Brian (b. ca. 1979). Avid reader with interest in philosophy. Works as a security guard in Orange county.

  • Registered the domain name herbertmarcuse.com, which was basically a page of links. The Internet archive has copies from Sept. 2001 to Sept. 2004.
  • His gonsalves.org website (2009 web archive version) included an autobiographical essay in which Brian wrote the following:
    "The last time that literature induced a major shift in my world view was 1999; during a brief respite from my depression I first tackled the philosopher Herbert Marcuse. Associated with the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, Marcuse was extremely influential upon the radical Left in the 1960�s. His philosophy is a highly original synthesis of Hegel, Marx, and Freud. A materialist aestheticism permeates his thought (perhaps this is what attracted me to it) and yet in his analysis of both society and the individual there is much depth. Though he is primarily concerned with the beautiful, the true and the good are not neglected to the extent that they are in Nietzsche. Marcuse changed my way of thinking by directing my attention toward the social organism. After years of blind individualism I had forgotten that I too was part of society and that many of my own problems were of a universal nature. In Eros and Civilization Marcuse draws attention to the fact that society demands of its members a level of repression over and above what is needed to defeat scarcity and provide for the commonweal. Technology has made feasible a drastic reduction of the amount of overall labor engaged in by man, opening up the utopian possibility of a society based around leisure and play. Nevertheless, the culture of toil is perpetuated by an obsolete work ethic and by the manufacture of false needs through advertising. People must continue to work full-time in order to buy mass-advertised gadgets and luxury items. This over-consumption is fostered so as to support the over-production which keeps everyone working. The absurdities of advanced capitalism are further explored in Marcuse�s second great work, One-Dimensional Man. The book�s central point is that modern society�s totalitarian nature almost excludes the possibility of there arising any genuine opposition to it. The proletariat, stupefied by mass media, has itself become a counter-revolutionary force. High art, once a gateway to an alternative dimension, has lost its transcendental quality through being commercialized. Philosophy also has lost its ability to oppose society as critical thought forms (as in Hegel and Marx) have given way to a shallow positivism. Writing in the late sixties, Marcuse did see a viable oppositional force in the student radicals. He quickly became their guru.
    As I recognized that Eros and Civilization and One-Dimensional Man were thoroughly applicable to the 1990�s I became angry. Less and less did I feel guilty about not fitting into this society. More did my alienation make me determined to fight the establishment. My chance came in December 1999 with the convention of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. I caught a bus to the city and joined thousands of people protesting the order of global corporate capitalism. In all honesty it was exhilarating to take part in that small piece of history. When I got home, however, my enthusiasm waned. Neither Herbert Marcuse nor memories of Seattle could keep me from slipping back into my usual depression."
Index entries: Gonsalves, Brian