Theodor W. Adorno · 256 pages
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“There is no right life in the wrong one.”
“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. While he gropingly forms his own life in the frail image of a true existence, he should never forget its frailty,
nor how little the image is a substitute for true life. Against such
awareness, however, pulls the momentum of the bourgeois within him.”
“Very evil people cannot really be imagined dying.”
“Thus is order ensured: some have to play the game because they cannot otherwise live, and those who could live otherwise are kept out because they do not want to play the game. It is as if the class from which independent intellectuals have defected takes its revenge, by pressing its demands home in the very domain where the deserter seeks refuge.”
“There is no true life within a false life.”
“A film which followed the code of the Hays Office to the strictest letter might succeed in being a great work of art, but not in a world in which a Hays Office exists.”
“The very wish to be right, down to its subtlest form of logical reflection, is an expression of the spirit of self-preservation which philosophy is precisely concerned to break down.”
“Among today's adept practitioners, the lie has long since lost its honest function of misrepresenting reality. Nobody believes anybody, everyone is in the know. Lies are told only to convey to someone that one has no need either of him or his good opinion. The lie, once a liberal means of communication, has today become one of the techniques of insolence enabling each individual to spread around him the glacial atmosphere in whose shelter he can thrive.”
“Der Verfall des Schenkens spiegelt sich in der peinlichen Erfindung der Geschenkartikel, die bereits darauf angelegt sind, daß man nicht weiß, was man schenken soll, weil man es eigentlich gar nicht will. Diese Waren sind beziehungslos wie ihre Käufer.”
“Even at that time the hope of leaving behind messages in bottles on the flood of barbarism bursting on Europe was an amiable illusion: the desperate letters stuck in the mud of the spirit of rejuvenesence and were worked up by a band of Noble Human-Beings and other riff-raff into highly artistic but inexpensive wall-adornments. Only since then has progress in communications really got into its stride. Who, in the end, is to take it amiss if even the freest of free spirits no longer write for an imaginary posterity, more trusting, if possible, than even their contemporaries, but only for the dead God?”
“even there, where the rejection of the system is taken for granted and for that reason a lax and cunning conformism of its own has developed.”
“In many people it is already an impertinence to say 'I'.”
“A l d i l à d e i m o n t i . Biancaneve esprime la malinconia in modo più perfetto di ogni altra fiaba. L'immagine più pura di questo sentimento è quella della regina che guarda la neve che cade attraverso i vetri della finestra e si augura di avere una bambina che somigli alla bellezza senza vita e pur vivente dei fiocchi, alla tinta nera e luttuosa del telaio della finestra e alla goccia di sangue che scaturisce dalla puntura, e che muore proprio nel momento in cui essa nasce. Questa impressione iniziale non può essere cancellata nemmeno dal lieto fine della favola. Come l'esaudimento della preghiera non era altro che la morte, così anche il salvataggio finale rimane una semplice apparenza. Poiché la percezione più profonda del lettore o dell'ascoltatore non riesce a credere che sia stata svegliata effettivamente la fanciulla che giaceva come se dormisse nella sua bara di vetro. E il boccone di mela avvelenato che le esce dalla gola per effetto delle scosse subite durante il viaggio non è forse, piuttosto che lo strumento adoperato per ucciderla, l'ultimo resto della vita sciupata e messa al bando, da cui essa guarisce veramente soltanto ora, che non è più esposta alle tentazioni di nessuna falsa messaggera? E come suona fragile e caduca la felicità espressa nelle parole: «Allora Biancaneve gli volle bene e andò insieme a lui». Come è smentita, subito dopo, dalla perfidia del trionfo che è celebrato sulla malvagità. Così una voce ci dice, quando speriamo nella salvezza, che la nostra speranza è vana, eppure è soltanto lei, la speranza impotente, a permetterci anche solo di tirare il fiato. Ogni contemplazione e speculazione filosofica non può fare altro che ricalcare pazientemente, in figure e abbozzi sempre nuovi, l'ambiguità della malinconia. La verità è inseparabile dall'illusione che un giorno, dalle figure e dai simboli dell'apparenza, possa emergere, nonostante tutto, libera da ogni traccia di apparenza, l'immagine reale della salvezza.”
“in the antagonistic society, the relationship of the generations is also one of competition, behind which stands naked violence.”
“WHAT THE LIVING DO
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss--we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:
I am living. I remember you. ”
“Over the years, my church gave me passage into a menagerie of exotic words unknown in the South: "introit," "offertory," "liturgy," "movable feast," "the minor elevation," "the lavabo," "the apparition of Lourdes," and hundreds more. Latin deposited the dark minerals of its rhythms on the shelves of my spoken language. You may find the harmonics of the Common of the Mass in every book I've ever written. Because I was raised Roman Catholic, I never feared taking any unchaperoned walks through the fields of language. Words lifted me up and filled me with pleasure.”
“Nu de Brangien cea credincioasă, ci de ei însuși au a se teme iubiții. Însă cum să stea de veghe inimile lor bete de dragoste? Iubirea îi îmboldește, așa cum setea îl repede pe cerb către râu, la ananghie, ori tot așa precum, după o lungă înfometare, șoimul slobozit se lasă pe pradă. Vai! dragostea nu se poate tănui.”
“We fight and we bleed for this hidden world, and the world eats us alive.”
“If the screams of all earth's living creatures were one scream of pain, surely it would shake the stars.”
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