Theodor W. Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

Theodor W.
Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund
1903
1969

German Sociologist, Philosopher and Musicologist

Author Quotes

It is not the office of art to spotlight alternatives, but to resist by its form alone the course of the world, which permanently puts a pistol to men's heads.

A pencil and rubber are of more use to thought than a battalion of assistants. To happiness the same applies as to truth: one does not have it, but is in it.

Freud made the discovery- quite genuinely, simply through working on his own material- that the more deeply one explores the phenomena of human individuation, the more unreservedly one grasps the individual as a self-contained and dynamic entity, the closer one draws to that in the individual which is really no longer individual.

In psycho-analysis nothing is true except the exaggerations.

It would be advisable to think of progress in the crudest, most basic terms: that no one should go hungry anymore, that there should be no more torture, no more Auschwitz. Only then will the idea of progress be free from lies.

A successful work of art is not one which resolves contradictions in a spurious harmony, but one which expresses the idea of harmony negatively by embodying the contradictions, pure and uncompromised, in its innermost structure.

Culture is only true when implicitly critical, and the mind which forgets this revenges itself in the critics it breeds. Criticism is an indispensable element of culture.

Genuine things are those to which commodities and other means of exchange can be reduced, particularly gold. But like gold, genuineness, abstracted as the proportion of fine metal, becomes a fetish.

In sharp contrasts to traditional art, modern art does not hide the fact that it is something made and produced: on the contrary, it underscores the fact.

Jazz is the false liquidation of art — instead of utopia becoming reality it disappears from the picture.

Advice to intellectuals: let no-one represent you.

Dialectic thought is an attempt to break through the coercion of logic by its own means.

Happiness is obsolete: uneconomic.

In so far as the culture industry arouses a feeling of well-being that the world is precisely in that order suggested by the culture industry, the substitute gratification which it prepares for human beings cheats them out of the same happiness which it deceitfully projects.

Laughing in the cultural industry is mockery of happiness.

All morality has been modeled on immorality and to this day has reinstated it at every level. The slave morality is indeed bad: it is still the master morality.

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.

Author Picture
First Name
Theodor W.
Last Name
Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund
Birth Date
1903
Death Date
1969
Bio

German Sociologist, Philosopher and Musicologist