Eras Journal – Brown, J. Abstract

Abstract of Brown, J.”Ernst Bloch and the Utopian Imagination”.

This article considers the place Ernst Bloch ascribes to the imagination within his utopian philosophy. The remarkable work of this German Marxist philosopher offers us a reading of the world that alleviates the crudities of ideology. Programmatic Marxism is subtly destabilised by Bloch through his stylistic individuality and by an interpretation of human nature which emphasizes that our alienation is a consequence of more than economic organisation. To recover a condition of authenticity we need to reclaim those hopes marginalized in popular culture and daydreams. Bloch maintains that these hopes contain intimations of our deepest levels of existence.

Though imagination is not directly addressed by Bloch its import is clear from his thought regarding the presence of hope in the arts. The imagination acts as a directing and actualizing principle whose presence is implicit in his cultural analysis.

This exposition is placed within an overview of the key concepts in Bloch’s Utopian philosophy. The originality of this in relation to both Marxism and populist notions of the utopian is noted. Specific exposition of the art of music focuses and summarizes this content. The centrality of music as a revelatory art is understood to show how Bloch regards the imagination within his project.