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Theodor Adorno Quotes


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The world is systematized horror, but therefore it is to do the world too much honor to think of it entirely as a system; for its unifying principle is division, and it reconciles by asserting unimpaired the irreconcilability of the general and the particular.
 

There is no love that is not an echo.
 

There is some reason to fear that the involvement of non-Western peoples in the conflicts of industrial society, long overdue in itself, will be less to the benefit of the liberated peoples than to that of rationally improved production and communications, and a modestly raised standard of living.
 

They are down to earth like their zoological forbears, before they got up on their hind-legs.
 

Thinking no longer means anymore than checking at each moment whether one can indeed think.
 

Those who cannot help ought also not advise: in an order where every mouse hole has been plugged, mere advice exactly equals condemnation.
 

To happiness the same applies as to truth: one does not have it, but is in it.
 

To hate destructiveness, one must hate life as well: only death is an image of undistorted life ... organic life is an illness peculiar to our unlovely planet.
 

To say 'we' and mean 'I' is one of the most recondite insults.
 

Today it is seen as arrogant, alien and improper to engage in private activity without any evident ulterior motive. Not to be 'after' something is almost suspect.
 

Today self-consciousness no longer means anything but reflection on the ego as embarrassment, as realization of impotence: knowing that one is nothing.
 

True thoughts are those alone which do not understand themselves.
 

Truth is inseparable from the illusory belief that from the figures of the unreal one day, in spite of all, real deliverance will come.
 

Up to our days a man's membership of the upper or lower classes has been crudely determined by whether or not he accepted money. At times false pride became conscious criticism.
 

We shudder at the brutalization of life, but lacking any objectively binding morality we are forced at every step into actions and words, into calculations that are by humane standards barbaric, and even by the dubious values of good society, tactless.
 

What has become alien to men is the human component of culture, its closest part, which upholds them against the world. They make common cause with the world against themselves, and the most alienated condition of all, the omnipresence of commodities, their own conversion into appendages of machinery, is for them a mirage of closeness.
 

Whatever the intellectual does, is wrong. He experiences drastically and vitally the ignominious choice that late capitalism secretly presents to all its dependents: to become one more grown-up, or to remain a child.
 

When all actions are mathematically calculated, they also take on a stupid quality.
 

When I made my theoretical model, I could not have guessed that people would try to realize it with Molotov cocktails.
 

Without hope, the idea of truth would be scarcely even thinkable, and it is the cardinal untruth, having recognized existence to be bad, to present it as truth simply because it has been recognized.
 


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