Marriage as a community of interests unfailingly means the degradation of the interested parties, and it is the perfidy of the world's arrangements that no one, even if aware of it, can escape such degradation. The idea might therefore be entertained that marriage without ignominy is a possibility reserved for those spared the pursuit of interests, for the rich. But the possibility is purely formal, for the privileged are precisely those in whom the pursuit of interests has become second-nature they would not otherwise uphold privilege.
E. Jephcott, trans. (1974), § 10
Immer von Beckett ist eine technische Reduktion bis zum äußersten. ... Aber diese Reduktion ist ja wirklich das was die Welt aus uns macht ... das heißt die Welt aus uns gemacht diese Stümpfe von Menschen also diese Menschen die eigentlich ihr ich ihr verloren haben die sind wirklich die Produkte der Welt in der wir leben.Theodor AdornoAlways with Beckett there is a technical reduction to the extreme. ... But this reduction is really what the world makes out of us ...that is the world has made out of us these stumps of men ... these men who have actually lost their I, who are really the products of the world in which we live."Beckett and the Deformed Subject" (Lecture)
A thinking that approaches it objects openly, rigorously ... is also free toward its objects in the sense that it refuses to have rules prescribed to it by organized knowledge. It ... rends the veil with which society conceals them, and perceives them anew.Theodor AdornoWozu noch Philosophie? [Translation: Why still philosophy] (1963, pg. 12)
In psychoanalysis nothing is true except the exaggerations.Theodor Adorno1966 Negative Dialectics.
Jazz is the false liquidation of art instead of utopia becoming reality it disappears from the picture.Theodor AdornoPerennial fashion — Jazz, as quoted in The Sociology of Rock (1978) by Simon Frith
Advancing bourgeois society liquidates memory, time, recollection as irrational leftovers of the past.Theodor Adorno“Was bedeutet Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit” (1959)
In organized groups such as the army or the Church there is either no mention of love whatsoever between the members, or it is expressed only in a sublimated and indirect way, through the mediation of some religious imagine in the love of whom the members unite and whose all-embracing love they are supposed to imitate in their attitude towards each other. ... It is one of the basic tenets of fascist leadership to keep primary libidinal energy on an unconscious level so as to divert its manifestations in a way suitable to political ends.Theodor Adorno“Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda,” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader (1982), p. 123
The bourgeois ... is tolerant. His love for people as they are stems from his hatred of what they might be.Theodor AdornoE. Jephcott, trans. (1974), § 4
Die Glorifizierung der prächtigen underdogs läuft auf die des prächtigen Systems heraus, das sie dazu macht.Theodor AdornoIn the end, glorification of splendid underdogs is nothing other than the glorification of the splendid system that makes them so.E. Jephcott, trans. (1974), § 7
Tenderness between people is nothing other than awareness of the possibility of relations without purpose.Theodor AdornoE. Jephcott, trans. (1974), § 20
The straight line is regarded as the shortest distance between two people, as if they were points.Theodor AdornoE. Jephcott, trans. (1974), § 20
The almost insoluble task is to let neither the power of others, nor our own powerlessness, stupefy us.Theodor AdornoE. Jephcott, trans. (1974), § 34
By abstaining from all definite content, whether as formal logic and theory of science or as the legend of Being beyond all beings, philosophy declared its bankruptcy regarding concrete social goals.Theodor Adornop. 6 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
Traditional philosophy’s claim to totality, culminating in the thesis that the real is rational, is indistinguishable from apologetics.Theodor Adornop. 7 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
The more reified the world becomes, the thicker the veil cast upon nature, the more the thinking weaving that veil in its turn claims ideologically to be nature, primordial experience.Theodor Adornop. 7 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
In both positivism and Heidegger at least in his later work speculation is the target of attack. In both cases the thought that autonomously raises itself above the facts through interpreting them and that cannot be reclaimed by them without leaving a surplus is condemned for being empty and vain concept-mongering.Theodor Adornop. 9 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
The error in positivism is that it takes as its standard of truth the contingently given division of labor, that between the science and social praxis as well as that within science itself, and allows no theory that could reveal the division of labor to be itself derivative and mediated and thus strip it of its false authority.Theodor Adornop. 10 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
In a world that has been thoroughly permeated by the structures of the social order, a world that so overpowers every individual that scarcely any option remains but to accept it on its own terms, such naiveté reproduces itself incessantly and disastrously. What people have forced upon them by a boundless apparatus, which they themselves constitute and which they are locked into, virtually eliminates all natural elements and becomes “nature” to them.Theodor Adornop. 12 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
The invocation of science, of its ground rules, of the exclusive validity of the methods that science has now completely become, now constitutes a surveillance authority punishing free, uncoddled, undisciplined thought and tolerating nothing of mental activity other than what has been methodologically sanctioned. Science and scholarship, the medium of autonomy, has degenerated into an instrument of heteronomy.Theodor Adornop. 12 (Wozu noch Philosophie? [Why still philosophy] (1963))
The important thing is not the planning of an Index Verborum Prohibitorum of current noble nouns, but rather the examination of their linguistic function.Theodor Adornop. 6 (Jargon der Eigentlichkeit [Jargon of Authenticity] (1964))
Elements of empirical language are manipulated in their rigidity, as if they were elements of a true and revealed language. The empirical usability of the sacred ceremonial words makes both the speaker and listener believe in their corporeal presence.Theodor Adornop. 7 (Jargon der Eigentlichkeit [Jargon of Authenticity] (1964))
What is or is not the jargon is determined by whether the word is written in an intonation which places it transcendently in opposition to its own meaning; by whether the individual words are loaded at the expense of the sentence, its propositional force, and the thought content. In that sense the character of the jargon would be quite formal: it sees to it that what it wants is on the whole felt and accepted through its mere delivery, without regard to the content of the words used.Theodor AdornoJargon der Eigentlichkeit [Translation: Jargon of Authenticity] (1964)
The jargon makes it seem that ... the pure attention of the expression to the subject matter would be a fall into sin.Theodor Adornop. 9 (Jargon der Eigentlichkeit [Jargon of Authenticity] (1964))
Whoever is versed in the jargon does not have to say what he thinks, does not even have to think it properly. The jargon takes over this task.Theodor Adornop. 9 (Jargon der Eigentlichkeit [Jargon of Authenticity] (1964))
Words of the jargon sound as if they said something higher than what they mean.Theodor Adornop. 9 (Jargon der Eigentlichkeit [Jargon of Authenticity] (1964))
Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.Theodor AdornoIn Minima Moralia (1951), as translated by E. Jephcott (1974), § 143, p. 222.
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