80+ Theodor Adorno Quotes


Theodor Adorno quotes
Biography Author’s Book
Name: Theodor AdornoFind on Amazon India: Link
Nationality: GermanFind on Amazon: Link
Profession: Philosopher
Born: 11-Sep-1903 
Death: 06-Aug-1969

Dialectic thought is an attempt to break through the coercion of logic by its own means.

No emancipation without that of society.

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

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

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

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

Normality is death.

The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.

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

Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men.

Modernity is a qualitative, not a chronological, category.

Love you will find only where you may show yourself weak without provoking strength.

Love is the power to see similarity in the dissimilar.

Life has become the ideology of its own absence.

Lies are told only to convey to someone that one has no need either of him or his good opinion.

Intelligence is a moral category.

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

The hardest hit, as everywhere, are those who have no choice.

The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying-glass.

The recent past always presents itself as if destroyed by catastrophes.

Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.

The most powerful person is he who is able to do least himself and burden others most with the things for which he lends his name and pockets the credit.

The man for whom time stretches out painfully is one waiting in vain, disappointed at not finding tomorrow already continuing yesterday.

The joke of our time is the suicide of intention.

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

The human is indissolubly linked with imitation: a human being only becomes human at all by imitating other human beings.

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

The good man is he who rules himself as he does his own property: his autonomous being is modelled on material power.

The gods look in pleasure on penitent sinners.

The first and only principle of sexual ethics: the accuser is always in the wrong.

The culture industry not so much adapts to the reactions of its customers as it counterfeits them.

The almost insoluble task is to let neither the power of others, nor our own powerlessness, stupefy us.

In the age of the individual’s liquidation, the question of individuality must be raised anew.

The individual mirrors in his individuation the preordained social laws of exploitation, however mediated.

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.

Insane sects grow with the same rhythm as big organizations. It is the rhythm of total destruction.

Exuberant health is always, as such, sickness also.

Everything that has ever been called folk art has always reflected domination.

Every work of art is an uncommitted crime.

Domination delegates the physical violence on which it rests to the dominated.

But he who dies in despair has lived his whole life in vain.

For a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.

Art is permitted to survive only if it renounces the right to be different, and integrates itself into the omnipotent realm of the profane.

Freedom would be not to choose between black and white but to abjure such prescribed choices.

Anti-Semitism is the rumour about the Jews.

An emancipated society, on the other hand, would not be a unitary state, but the realization of universality in the reconciliation of differences.

All satire is blind to the forces liberated by decay. Which is why total decay has absorbed the forces of satire.

Advice to intellectuals: let no-one represent you.

A pencil and rubber are of more use to thought than a battalion of assistants. To happiness the same applies as to truth: one does not have it, but is in it.

A German is someone who cannot tell a lie without believing it himself.

Because thought has by now been perverted into the solving of assigned problems, even what is not assigned is processed like a problem.

History does not merely touch on language, but takes place in it.

The specific is not exclusive: it lacks the aspiration to totality.

In the abstract conception of universal wrong, all concrete responsibility vanishes.

In psycho-analysis nothing is true except the exaggerations.

In many people it is already an impertinence to say ‘I’.

In his state of complete powerlessness the individual perceives the time he has left to live as a brief reprieve.

If time is money, it seems moral to save time, above all one’s own, and such parsimony is excused by consideration for others. One is straight-forward.

Fascism is itself less ‘ideological’, in so far as it openly proclaims the principle of domination that is elsewhere concealed.

Horror is beyond the reach of psychology.

In the end, glorification of splendid underdogs is nothing other than glorification of the splendid system that makes them so.

He who stands aloof runs the risk of believing himself better than others and misusing his critique of society as an ideology for his private interest.

He who matures early lives in anticipation.

He who integrates is lost.

He who has loved and who betrays love does harm not only to the image of the past, but to the past itself.

He who has laughter on his side has no need of proof.

Happiness is obsolete: uneconomic.

If across the Atlantic the ideology was pride, here it is delivering the goods.

Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.

There is no love that is not an echo.

The whole is the false.

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

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

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

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

Work while you work, play while you play – this is a basic rule of repressive self-discipline.

The poor are prevented from thinking by the discipline of others, the rich by their own.


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