Quotes from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life

Theodor W. Adorno ·  256 pages

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“There is no right life in the wrong one.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“Very evil people cannot really be imagined dying.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“There is no true life within a false life.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged 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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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?”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life



“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“In many people it is already an impertinence to say 'I'.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“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.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


“in the antagonistic society, the relationship of the generations is also one of competition, behind which stands naked violence.”
― Theodor W. Adorno, quote from Minima Moralia: Reflections from a Damaged Life


About the author

Theodor W. Adorno
Born place: in Frankfurt, Germany
Born date September 11, 1903
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