By Theodor W. Adorno
This can be the 1st British paperback variation of this contemporary vintage written by means of one of many towering highbrow of the 20th century. Theodor Adorno (1903-69) was once a number one member of the Frankfurt university. His books contain The Jargon of Authenticity, Dialectic of Enlightenment (with Max Horkheimer), and Aesthetic Theory
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The ratio which in accordance with bourgeois class interests had smashed the feudal order and scholastic ontology, the form of the intellectual reflection of that order—this same ratio no sooner faced the ruins, its own handiwork, than it would be struck by fear of chaos. It trembled before the menace that continued underneath its own domain, waxing stronger in proportion to its own power. This fear shaped the beginnings of a mode of conduct constitutive for bourgeois existence as a whole: of the neutralization, by confirming the existent order, of every emancipatory step.
The power of the status quo puts up the façades into which our consciousness crashes. It must seek to crash through them. This alone would free the postulate of depth from ideology. Surviving in such resistance is the speculative moment: what will not have its law prescribed for it by given facts transcends them even in the closest contact with the objects, and in repudiating a sacrosanct transcendence. Where the thought transcends the bonds it tied in resistance—there is its freedom. Freedom follows the subject’s urge to express itself.
We want to adhere as closely to the heterogeneous as the programs of phenomenology and of Simmel tried in vain to do; our aim is total self-relinquishment. Philosophical contents can only be grasped where philosophy does not impose them. The illusion that it might confine the essence in its finite definitions will have to be given up. The fatal ease with which the word “infinite” rolled off the idealistic philosophers’ tongues may have been due only to a wish to allay gnawing doubts about the meager finiteness of their conceptual machinery—including Hegel’s, his intentions notwithstanding.
Negative Dialectics by Theodor W. Adorno