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Freedom and the Inner Dimension in Marcuse

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For Marx, the necessity of freedom has ontological grounding. When our capacity to labour is alienated from us and applied to abstract ends, we are unfree. For Marcuse, repressive needs prevent the development of what he calls “inner freedom.” This is the capacity to think critically and act autonomously from repressive society, to have different needs and desires than those which are imposed. However, in The Aesthetic Dimension, Marcuse argues that experiencing art interrupts unreflective involvement in the world, infecting experience with awareness of an inner dimension that is suppressed and distorted by those appearances. In this capacity of art Marcuse sees the potential for the reinvigoration of inner freedom.
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