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The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society… (1969)

av Theodore Roszak

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When it was published twenty-five years ago, this book captured a huge audience of Vietnam War protesters, dropouts, and rebels--and their baffled elders. Theodore Roszak found common ground between 1960s student radicals and hippie dropouts in their mutual rejection of what he calls the technocracy--the regime of corporate and technological expertise that dominates industrial society. He traces the intellectual underpinnings of the two groups in the writings of Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown, Allen Ginsberg and Paul Goodman. In a new introduction, Roszak reflects on the evolution of counter culture since he coined the term in the sixties. Alan Watts wrote of The Making of a Counter Culture in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969, "If you want to know what is happening among your intelligent and mysteriously rebellious children, this is the book. The generation gap, the student uproar, the New Left, the beats and hippies, the psychedelic movement, rock music, the revival of occultism and mysticism, the protest against our involvement in Vietnam, and the seemingly odd reluctance of the young to buy the affluent technological society--all these matters are here discussed, with sympathy and constructive criticism, by a most articulate, wise, and humane historian."… (mer)
Senast inlagd avErik39, darianbh, rstarker, jmkelly1981, privat bibliotek, hmwlibrary, quillis, ucla70, GlennGarvin
Efterlämnade bibliotekWalker Percy

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How the 60s and 70s changed the way America looked at Capitalism and war. It also sought to let everyone know something more about the hippies than what had been shown on TV at the time. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Roszak's The Making of a Counter Culture is a collection of essays offering a critique of Western industrialised economy and its attendant culture. Two opening essays broadly outline first the situation and then the beginnings of a reasonable corrective. Middle essays look into specific aspects of the corrective, and the final two point to Roszak's overarching argument in another book, Where the Wasteland Ends.

Roszak's critique of society centers on his concept of technocracy, outlined in the opening essay. Technocracy is an organization of society resting upon three assumptions: [10, 37]
• Vital needs of society are technical in nature: they center on questions of how things should be done;
• Which is to say, social order is not primarily a question of knowledge (what should we do?), since the scientific analysis of human needs is virtually complete;
• And, the relevant decision makers best positioned to address these key social needs are certified experts, expert in the sense they are credentialed through a professional process.

The moral considerations of why or whether we should order society, toward what end or purpose, implicitly are left aside under technocracy.

Technocracy itself grows out of objective consciousness. Roszak is concerned to define objective consciousness (cold reason) and its effect on society and on its citizens. At the same time, he assesses the value of 1960s youth dissent in sensing the danger of technocracy and its underpinning consciousness, even if youth only partially understand them or the wide-ranging implications. This dissent – the counter culture, then, offers a nascent alternative to technocracy, but likely will prove ineffective precisely because it is without vision or a clear idea toward which to work, and without guidance will busy itself with a superficial resistance. It is tempting to suggest that historically that is what occurred, though it's an open question whether the opportunity is lost altogether or remains nascent.

Roszak's middle essays look in depth at specific historical trends characteristic of the counter culture, from the emphasis on psychedelics or mysticism, to trends in psychology and sociology and the youthful following each has nurtured.

His final two essays look at the same topic, but analytically rather than historically. In “The Myth of Objective Consciousness”, Roszak outlines 3 major characteristics of "the psychic style which follows from an intensive cultivation of objective consciousness":

• alienative dichotomy: all experience divided into In-Here and Out-There; In-Here “undertakes to know without an investment of the person in the act of knowing” [218], hence an alienative distancing, emptying out of all emotion from experience.
• invidious hierarchy: privileges In-Here with moral and epistemological priority (but not necessarily ontological priority); other persons are included along with rest of world. Draws a parallel between the operation in the individual of the In-Here vs Out-There, and in society of the technocracy and the citizen.
• mechanistic imperative: above 2 characteristics in tandem press toward AI and mechanistic substitution of the unreliable organic self. Not merely a lust for power driving this mechanisation, but also desire for routinization / predictability (emptying out individuation from individual)

“Eyes of Flesh, Eyes of Fire” outlines an alternative psyche, a revitalized sense of the sacred drawing on tradition and updated for contemporary society. This position is taken up in full by Where the Wasteland Ends.

Roszak is at various points strident and exaggerated, his achievement amounting to the clarity of his counterpoint to industrial reason and rationalisation. I suspect Wasteland may hold a similar weakness, though cannot recall from my reading a decade ago. Roszak does highlight the seductive power of technocratic culture, insofar as it's easy to be co-opted not so much out of greed or lax morality, but while sincerely striving to do good. In essence, that's what the counterculture is about, avoiding co-optation. The classic case is that of a physician genuinely striving to heal, yet treating and communicating with individual patients from a mindset of symptoms, or procedures, or clinical issues. This approach wholly undermines the physician's effort to heal the patient, whatever the clinical outcome. As a healthcare analyst, I can easily focus on data on clinical errors or underperforming a benchmark, and overlook how a report can come to define the overall care provided on a hospital unit (and by extension, the care provided by the staff on the unit), subsequently create a sense of frustration or personal attack, and ultimately have an altogether negative influence on patients and caregivers. ( )
2 rösta elenchus | Nov 26, 2010 |
RoszakEight essays from and on he sixties, some of them originally published in the Nation magazine.

1. Technocracy’s Children: This was really context setting for me. I used the world technocracy in the past but now I learned form its creator what it really meant. For the essence is the belief that technology can solve every problem and only it can do it , nothing else. Leave it to the experts. What a joke.

2. An invasion of Centaurs: an overview of the diversity within the umbrella term of counterculture. Particular emphasis on beat poets, Eastern religions and mysticism.

3. The Dialectics of Liberation: Herbert Marcuse and Norman Brown: A somewhat obscure treatise on the differences of these leftist thinkers approaches to Freudism and Marxism. They seemed important at the time, but from today’s larger context it was more like infighting within the same branch. They did have different approaches, but that is almost irrelevant today, when there are much larger differences.

4. Journey to the East… and Points Beyond: Allen Ginsberg and Alan Watts: criticism of Ginsberg’s poetry and praise for Watts, who had more of an academic background. Doesn’t asses importance on impact but on objective literary qualities if they exist.

5. The Counterfeit Infinity: The Use and Abuse of Psychedelic Experience: the title says it all. He disapproves wide-scale use and compares it giving guns to children, who are not mature enough to use it properly.

6. Exploring Utopia: The Visionary Sociology of Paul Goodman: Distilling Goodman’s vision from his novels and placing it into his life’s context

7. The Myth of Objective Consciousness: based on his own definition of technocracy Roszak attacks the concept. He manages to do it without invoking mystical or hallucinogenic experiences.

8. Eyes of Flesh, Eyes of Fire: On the importance of visions, rituals, poetry, magical experiences in an evergreying society.
2 rösta break | Feb 7, 2010 |
On the new release of The Making of an Elder Culture, it is helpful to review Theodore Roszak's earlier work The Making of a Counter Culture, where he questions the hippie commitment to social change. Tie-dye t-shirts and rock music, once symbolic of a youth alienated from the so-called establishment, became kitsch commercialism and mainstream entertainment. In the earlier book Roszak argues that consumerism and technocracy co-opted the sixties revolution by enlisting young rebels and outlaws to the cause of what are now essentially conservative politics.

For More See Orato Review Below
http://www.orato.com/entertainment/roszaks-making-of-counter-culture ( )
1 rösta Tomhartley | Sep 23, 2009 |
Visar 4 av 4
Roszak's Making of a Counter Culture: Reclaiming 60s' Ideals in an Elder Culture
tillagd av Tomhartley | ändraOrato
 

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The struggle of the generations is one of the obvious constants of human affairs. One stands in peril of some presumption, therefore, to suggest that the rivalry between young and adult in Western society during the current decade is uniquely critical.
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But for our purposes here it will be enough to define the technocracy as that society in which those who govern justify themselves by appeal to technical experts who, in turn, justify themselves by appeal to scientific forms of knowledge. And beyond the authority of science, there is no appeal. [7-8]
We are bitterly familiar with totalitarian politics in the form of brutal regimes which achieve their integration [of all social spheres] by bludgeon and bayonet. But in the case of the technocracy, totalitarianism is perfected because its techniques become progressively more subliminal. The distinctive feature of the regime of experts lies in the fact that, while possessing ample power to coerce, it prefers to charm conformity from us by exploiting our deep-seated commitment to the scientific world-view and by manipulating the securities and creature comforts of the industrial affluence which science has given us. [9]
The fascination of the young for exotic religion and narcotics is a symptom of their quest for some new foundation that can support a program of radical social change. [186]
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When it was published twenty-five years ago, this book captured a huge audience of Vietnam War protesters, dropouts, and rebels--and their baffled elders. Theodore Roszak found common ground between 1960s student radicals and hippie dropouts in their mutual rejection of what he calls the technocracy--the regime of corporate and technological expertise that dominates industrial society. He traces the intellectual underpinnings of the two groups in the writings of Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown, Allen Ginsberg and Paul Goodman. In a new introduction, Roszak reflects on the evolution of counter culture since he coined the term in the sixties. Alan Watts wrote of The Making of a Counter Culture in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969, "If you want to know what is happening among your intelligent and mysteriously rebellious children, this is the book. The generation gap, the student uproar, the New Left, the beats and hippies, the psychedelic movement, rock music, the revival of occultism and mysticism, the protest against our involvement in Vietnam, and the seemingly odd reluctance of the young to buy the affluent technological society--all these matters are here discussed, with sympathy and constructive criticism, by a most articulate, wise, and humane historian."

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