Monday, August 4, 2014

False needs in the mailbox

“False needs” is our household’s name for the catalogues that come to our mailbox, day after week after month after year:

“Did we get anything?“

”A water bill, a New Yorker, false needs.”

The term comes from Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964):

We may distinguish both true and false needs. “False” are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. . . . Most of the prevailing needs to relax, to have fun, to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate, belong to this category of false needs.
The term “false needs” is related of course to the Marxist idea of false consciousness.

[Your needs may vary. This post makes no claim as to the truth or falsity of anything beyond the contents of my mailbox.]