Theodor W. Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

Theodor W.
Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

German Sociologist, Philosopher and Musicologist

Author Quotes

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

So the experience of death is turned into that of the exchange of functionaries, and anything in the natural relationship to death that is not wholly absorbed into the social one is turned over to hygiene. In being seen as no more than the exit of a living creature from the social combine, death has been domesticated: dying merely confirms the absolute irrelevance of the natural organism in face of the social absolute.

The film has succeeded in transforming subjects so indistinguishably into social functions, that those wholly encompassed, no longer aware of any conflict, enjoy their own dehumanization as something human, as the joy of warmth. The total interconnectedness of the culture industry, omitting nothing, is one with total social delusion.

The only decent marriage would be one allowing each partner to lead an independent life, in which, instead of a fusion derived from an enforced community of economic interest, both freely accepted mutual responsibility.

There are no more ideologies in the authentic sense of false consciousness, only advertisements for the world through its duplication and the provocative lie which does not seek belief but commands silence.

True thoughts are those alone which do not understand themselves.

Of the world as it exists, it is not possible to be enough afraid.

Society is integral even before it undergoes totalitarian ule. Its organization also embraces those at war with it by co-ordinating their consciousness to its own.

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

The only philosophy that can be practiced responsibly in the face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. Knowledge has no light but that shed on the world by redemption: all else is reconstruction, mere technique. Perspectives must be fashioned that displace and estrange the world, that reveal its fissures and crevices, as indigent and distorted as it will one day appear in the Messianic light.

There is no life in the wrong.

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

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

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

The forms of art reflect the history of man more truthfully than do documents themselves.

The organic composition of man refers by no means only to his specialized technical faculties, but - and this the usual cultural criticism will not at any price admit - equally to their opposite, the moments of naturalness which once themselves sprung from the social dialectic and are now succumbing to it. Even what differs from technology in man is now being incorporated into it as a kind of lubrication. -

There is no love that is not an echo.

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.

One must have tradition in oneself, to hate it properly.

Taste is the ability to keep in balance the contradiction in art between the made and the apparent not-having-become; true works of art, however, never at one with taste, are those which push this contradiction to the extreme, and realize themselves in their resultant downfall.

The gods look in pleasure on penitent sinners.

The overbearing matter-of-factness which sacrifices the subject to the ascertainment of the truth, rejects at once truth and objectivity.

There is no right life in the wrong one.

Very evil people cannot really be imagined dying.

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

Author Picture
First Name
Theodor W.
Last Name
Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund
Birth Date
Death Date

German Sociologist, Philosopher and Musicologist