Road Tripping with Marcuse

Let us take a simple example. A man who travels by automobile to a distant place chooses his route from the highway maps. Towns, lakes and mountains appear as obstacles to be bypassed.

The countryside is shaped and organized by the highway. Numerous signs and posters tell the traveler what to do and think;

they even request his attention to the beauties of nature or the hallmarks of history.

Others have done the thinking for him, and perhaps for the better. Convenient parking spaces have been constructed where the broadest and most surprising view is open.

Giant advertisements tell him when to stop and find the pause that refreshes.

And all this is indeed for his benefit, safety and comfort; he receives what he wants. Business, technics, human needs and nature are wedded together into one rational and expedient mechanism. He will fare best who follows its directions, subordinating his spontaneity to the anonymous wisdom which ordered everything for him.

…All protest is senseless, and the individual who would insist on his freedom of action would become a crank.

–Herbert Marcuse, “Some Social Implications of Modern Technology

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