Theodor W. Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

Theodor W.
Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

German Sociologist, Philosopher and Musicologist

Author Quotes

Dissonance is the truth about harmony.

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

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

Legitimate works of art are today without exception socially undesired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He who integrates is lost.

In the clock's over-loud ticking we hear the mockery of light-years for the span of our existence.

Lies have long legs: they are ahead of their time. The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power, a process that truth itself cannot escape if it is not to be annihilated by power, not only suppresses truth as in earlier despotic orders, but has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false, which the hirelings of logic were in any case diligently working to abolish. So Hitler, of whom no-one can say whether he died or escaped, survives.

And how comfortless is the thought that the sickness of the normal does not necessarily imply as its opposite the health of the sick, but that the latter usually only present, in a different way, the same disastrous pattern.

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?

He who matures early lives in anticipation.

In the end the tough guys are the truely effeminate ones, who need the weaklings as their victims in order not to admit that they are like them.

Life has become the ideology of its own absence.

Anti-Semitism is the rumor about the Jews.

Every undistorted relationship, perhaps indeed the conciliation that is part of organic life itself, is a gift. He who through consequential logic becomes incapable of it, makes himself a thing and freezes.

He who says he is happy lies, and in invoking happiness, sins against it. He alone keeps faith who says: I was happy. The only relation of consciousness to happiness is gratitude: in which lies its incomparable dignity.

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

Life has changed into a timeless succession of shocks, interspaced with empty, paralyzed intervals.

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.

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

German Sociologist, Philosopher and Musicologist