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Theodor Adorno Quotes


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Modernity is a qualitative, not a chronological, category.
 

Newness only becomes mere evil in its totalitarian format, where all the tension between individual and society, that once gave rise to the category of the new, is dissipated. Today the appeal to newness, of no matter what kind, provided only that it is archaic enough, has become universal, the omnipresent medium of false mimesis. The decomposition of the subject is consummated in his self-abandonment to an ever-changing sameness.
 

No emancipation without that of society.
 

No harm comes to man from outside alone: dumbness is the objective spirit.
 

None of the abstract concepts comes closer to fulfilled utopia than that of eternal peace.
 

Normality is death.
 

Not only is the self entwined in society; it owes society its existence in the most literal sense.
 

Once the last trace of emotion has been eradicated, nothing remains of thought but absolute tautology.
 

One must have tradition in oneself, to hate it properly.
 

Only a humanity to whom death has become as indifferent as its members, that has itself died, can inflict it administratively on innumerable people.
 

People at the top are closing ranks so tightly that all possibility of subjective deviation has gone, and difference can be sought only in the more distinguished cut of an evening dress.
 

Perhaps the true society will grow tired of development and, out of freedom, leave possibilities unused, instead of storming under a confused compulsion to the conquest of strange stars.
 

Proletarian language is dictated by hunger. The poor chew words to fill their bellies.
 

Psychology repeats in the case of properties what was done to property. It expropriates the individual by allocating him its happiness.
 

Quality is decided by the depth at which the work incorporates the alternatives within itself, and so masters them.
[Quality]
 

Rampant technology eliminates luxury, but not by declaring privilege a human right; rather, it does so by both raising the general standard of living and cutting off the possibility of fulfillment
 

Rather, knowledge comes to us through a network of prejudices, opinions, innervations, self-corrections, presuppositions and exaggerations, in short through the dense, firmly-founded but by no means uniformly transparent medium of experience.
 

So the experience of death is turned into that of the exchange of functionaries, and anything in the natural relationship to death that is not wholly absorbed into the social one is turned over to hygiene. In being seen as no more than the exit of a living creature from the social combine, death has been domesticated: dying merely confirms the absolute irrelevance of the natural organism in face of the social absolute.
 

Society is integral even before it undergoes totalitarian rule. Its organization also embraces those at war with it by co-ordinating their consciousness to its own.
 

Tact is the discrimination of differences. It consists in conscious deviations.
 


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