The article argues that the so-called life-coaches can be seen as exponents of the ongoing institutionali- zation of the introverted criticism that apparently leads to more self-criticism and to a feeling of failure rather than to an actual extroverted criticism of the structural conditions of society. Thus, the hypothesis is that the inner work with the resources of the self is so exhausting that it leads to a mental breakdown. The self becomes so exhausted that if it should make up its mind to criticize the structural conditions of society; the critique will be dismantled beforehand. But what then can be understood by the strong concept of “emancipation” today? In line with Critical Theory’s model for emancipation, the article suggests that the historical alternative for our time consists in the liberation of the extroverted criticism. An actual and radical liberation of the possibilities for practicing criticism—that is, a democratization and establishment of a critical culture—is the moral potential for development, which must be promoted to pave the way for any future emancipatory movements.
- Critical Theory, Herbert Marcuse, Emancipation, Self-criticism