Adorno on Critique

“Essentially an anti-critical schema from philosophy has sunk into blather: the appeal to the positive. One continually finds the word critique, if it is tolerated at all, accompanied by the word constructive. The insinuation is that only someone can practice critique who can propose something better than what is being criticized. By making the positive … Continue reading Adorno on Critique

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Final Serenity

“After so long a life one quite loses the capacity to distinguish who has done what harm to whom. In the abstract conception of universal wrong, all concrete responsibility vanishes. The blackguard presents himself as victim of injustice; if only you knew, young man, what life is like. But those conspicuous midway through life by … Continue reading Final Serenity

Repressive Tolerance: Truth and Falsehood

“Within the affluent democracy, […] All points of view can be heard […]. Moreover, in endlessly dragging debates over the media, the stupid opinion is treated with the same respect as the intelligent one, the misinformed may talk as long as the informed, and propaganda rides along with education, truth with falsehood. This pure tolerance … Continue reading Repressive Tolerance: Truth and Falsehood

On Tolerance

"[T]olerance was, at least in theory, based on the proposition that men were (potential) individuals who could learn to hear and see and feel by themselves, to develop their own thoughts, to grasp their trite interests and rights and capabilities, also against established authority and opinion. This was the rationale of free speech and assembly. … Continue reading On Tolerance

The Advent of Positive Philosophy

  “[Augste] Comte [pictured above] had great confidence in the ascendancy of the positive doctrine. Its “perfect logical coherence” and its social function assured success, because this doctrine “will impart a homogeneous and rational character to the desultory politics of our day, and it will...establish a general harmony in the entire system of social ideas…” … Continue reading The Advent of Positive Philosophy

Art, Immanence, and Critique

[Dr. Halley was kind enough to let me take a look at this manuscript and do some editing. I'm always a fan of Adorno, so the pleasure was surely mine.] "The relationship of art to bourgeois society, was, at first, emancipatory for art. In the decline of religious domination, and prior to the industrial revolution … Continue reading Art, Immanence, and Critique

“Emotional release” device

“The speaker … is consciously and emphatically emotional as part of his technique. He reiterates on many occasions that he “almost cried” when he got a contribution of fifty cents from that poor old widow. Whereas his whole personal build-up is that of the leader, the conspicuously refrains from any attitude of “dignity.” Just this … Continue reading “Emotional release” device

Consumer Society

Today, we are everywhere surrounded by the remarkable conspicuousness of consumption and affluence, established by the multiplication of objects, services, and material goods. This now constitutes a fundamental mutation in the ecology of the human species. Strictly speaking, men of wealth are no longer surrounded by other human beings, as they have been in the past, but by objects. Their … Continue reading Consumer Society

Johnny-Head-in-Air

“The relation of knowledge to power is one not only of servility but of truth. Much knowledge, if out of proportion to the disposition of forces, is invalid, however formally correct it may be. If an emigre doctor says: ‘For me, Adolf Hitler is a pathological case’, his pronouncement may ultimately be confirmed by clinical … Continue reading Johnny-Head-in-Air

Invitation to dance

“Schiller’s dictum that ‘Life’s good, in spite of all’, papier-mache from the start, has become idiocy now that it is blown into the same trumpet as omnipotent advertising, with psycho-analysis, despite its better possibilities, adding its fuel to the flames. … The admonitions to be happy, voiced in concert by the scientifically epicurean sanatorium-director and … Continue reading Invitation to dance