domingo, 31 de março de 2013

German DADA: The Abolition of the Future

TRISTAN TZARA “Dada Manifesto 1918

The magic of a word—Dada—which has brought journalists to the gates of a world unforeseen, is of no importance to us.

To put out a manifesto you must want: ABC to fulminate against 1, 2, 3

to fly into a rage and sharpen your wings to conquer and disseminate little abcs and big abcs, to sign, shout, swear, to organize prose into a form of absolute and irrefutable evidence, to prove your non plus ultra and maintain that novelty resembles life just as the latest-appearance of some whore proves the essence of God. His existence was previously proved by the accordion, the landscape, the wheedling word. To impose your ABC is a natural thing— hence deplorable. Everybody does it in the form of crystalbluffmadonna, monetary system, pharmaceutical product, or a bare leg advertising the ardent sterile spring. The love of novelty is the cross of sympathy, demonstrates a naive je m'enfoutisme, it is a transitory, positive sign without a cause.

But this need itself is obsolete. In documenting art on the basis of the supreme simplicity: novelty, we are human and true for the sake of amusement, impulsive, vibrant to crucify boredom. At the crossroads of the lights, alert, attentively awaiting the years, in the forest. I write a manifesto and I want nothing, yet 1 say certain things, and in principle I am against manifestoes, as I am also against principles (half-pints to measure the moral value of every phrase too too convenient; approximation was invented by the impressionists). I write this manifesto to show that people can perform contrary actions together while taking one fresh gulp of air; I am against action; for continuous contradiction, for affirmation too, I am neither for nor against and I do not explain because I hate common sense. [...]

Dada Means Nothing

If you find it futile and don't want to waste your time on a word that means nothing ... The first thought that comes to these people is bacteriological in character: to find its etymological, or at least its historical or psychological origin. We see by the papers that the Kru Negroes call the tail of a holy cow Dada. The cube and the mother in a certain district of Italy are called: Dada. A hobby horse, a nurse both in Russian and Rumanian:

 Dada. Some learned journalists regard it as an art for babies, other holy jesusescallingthelittlechildren of our day, as a relapse into a dry and noisy, noisy and monotonous primitivism. Sensibility is not constructed on the basis of a word; all constructions converge on perfection which is boring, the stagnant idea of a gilded swamp, a relative human product. A work of art should not be beauty in itself, for beauty is dead; it should be neither gay nor sad, neither light nor dark to rejoice or torture the individual by serving him the cakes of sacred aureoles or the sweets of a vaulted race through the atmospheres. A work of art is never beautiful by decree, objectively and for all. Hence criticism is useless, it exists only subjectively, for each man separately, without the slightest character of universality. Does anyone think he has found a psychic base common to all mankind?

The attempt of Jesus and the Bible covers with their broad benevolent wings: shit, animals, days. How can one expect to put order into the chaos
that constitutes that infinite and shapeless variation: man? The principle: "love thy neighbor” is a hypocrisy. “Know thyself” is utopian but more acceptable, for it embraces wickedness. No pity. After the carnage we still retain the hope of a purified mankind. I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince, I have no right to drag others into my river, I oblige no one to follow me and everybody practices his art in his own way, if be knows the joy that rises like arrows to the astral layers, or that other joy that goes down into the mines of corpse-flowers and fertile spasms. Stalactites: seek them everywhere, in managers magnified by pain, eyes white as the hares of the angels.

And so Dada was born of a need for independence, of a distrust toward unity. Those who are with us preserve their freedom. We recognize no theory. We have enough cubist and futurist academies: laboratories of formal ideas. Is the aim of art to make money and cajole the nice nice bourgeois? Rhymes ring with the assonance of the currencies and the inflexion slips along the line of the belly in profile. All groups of artists have arrived at this trust company utter riding their steeds on various comets. While the door remains open to the possibility of wallowing in cushions and good things to eat. [...]

Cubism was born out of the simple w ay of looking at an object: Cezanne painted a cup 20 centimeters below his eyes, the cubists look at it from above, others complicate appearance by making a perpendicular section and arranging it conscientiously on the side. (I do not forget the creative artists and the profound laws of matter which they established once and for all.) The futurist sees the same cup in movement, a succession of objects one beside the others and maliciously adds a few force lines. This does not prevent the canvas from being a good or bad painting suitable for the investment of intellectual capital.

The new painter creates a world, the elements of which are also its implements, a sober, definite work without argument. The new artist protests: he no longer paints (symbolic and illusionist reproduction) but creates directly in stone, wood, iron, tin, boulders—locomotive organisms capable of being turned in all directions by the limpid wind of momentary sensation. All pictorial or plastic work is useless: let it then be a monstrosity that frightens servile minds, and not sweetening to decorate the refectories of animals in human costume, illustrating the sad fable of mankind.
* * *

Philosophy is the question: from which side shall we look at life, God, the idea or other phenomena. Everything one looks at is false. I do not consider the relative result more important than the choice between cake and cherries after dinner. The system of quickly looking at the other side of a thing in order to impose your opinion indirectly is called dialectics, in other words, haggling over the spirit of fried potatoes while dancing method around it.

If I cry out:

Ideal, ideal, ideal,
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge, 
Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom, 

I have given a pretty faithful version of progress, law, morality and all other fine qualities that various highly intelligent men have discussed in so many books, only to conclude that after all everyone dances to his own personal boomboom, and that the writer is entitled to his boomboom: the satisfaction of pathological curiosity a private bell for inexplicable needs; a bath; pecuniary difficulties; a stomach with repercussions in tile; the authority of the mystic wand formulated as the bouquet of a phantom orchestra made up of silent fiddle bows greased with filters made of chicken manure.

With the blue eye-glasses of an angel they have excavated the inner life for a dime’s worth of unanimous gratitude. If all of them are right and if all pills are Pink Pills, let us try for once not to be right. Some people think they can explain rationally, by thought, what they think. But that is extremely relative. Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it puts to sleep the anti-objective impulses of man and systematizes the bourgeoisie. There is no ultimate Truth. The dialectic is an amusing mechanism which guides us / in a banal kind of way / to the opinions we had in the first place. Does anyone think that, by a minute refinement of logic, he had demonstrated the truth and established the correctness of these opinions? Logic imprisoned by the senses is an organic disease.

To this element philosophers always like to add: the power of observation. But actually this magnificent quality of the mind is the proof of its impotence. We observe, we regard from one or more points of view, we choose them among the millions that exist. Experience is also a product of chance and individual faculties. Science disgusts me as soon as it becomes a speculative system, loses its character of utility that is so useless but is at least individual. I detest greasy objectivity, and harmony, the science that finds everything in order. Carry on, my children, humanity . . . Science says we are the servants of nature: everything is in order, make love and bash your brains in. Carry on, my children, humanity, kind bourgeois and journalist virgins . . . I am against systems, the most acceptable system is on principle to have none. To complete oneself, to perfect oneself in one's own littleness, to fill the vessel with one's individuality, to have the courage to fight for and against thought, the mystery of bread, the sudden burst of an infernal propeller into economic lilies. [...]

Active Simplicity

Inability to distinguish between degrees of clarity: to lick the penumbra and float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement. Measured by the scale of eternity, all activity is vain - (if we allow thought to engage in an adventure the result of which would be infinitely grotesque and add significantly to our knowledge of human impotence). But supposing life to be a poor farce, without aim or initial parturition, and because we think it our duty to extricate ourselves as fresh and clean as washed chrysanthemums, we have proclaimed as the sole basis for agreement: art. It is not as important as we, mercenaries of the spirit, have been proclaiming for centuries. Art afflicts no one and those who manage to take an interest in it will harvest caresses and a fine opportunity to populate the country with their conversation. Art is a private affair, the artist produces it for himself, an intelligible work is the product of a journalist, and because at this moment it strikes my fancy to combine this monstrosity with oil paints: a paper tube simulating the metal that is automatically pressed and poured hatred cowardice villainy. The artist, the poet rejoice at the venom of the masses condensed into a section chief of this industry, he is happy to be insulted: it is a proof of his immutability. When a writer or artist is praised by the newspapers, it is a proof of the intelligibility of his work: wretched lining of a coat for public use; tatters covering brutality, piss contributing to the warmth of an animal brooding vile instincts. Flabby, insipid flesh reproducing with the help of typographical microbes.

We have thrown out the cry-baby in us. Any infiltration of this kind is candied diarrhea. To encourage this act is to digest it. What we need is works that are strong straight precise and forever beyond understanding. Logic is a complication. Logic is always wrong. It draws the threads of notions, words, in their formal exterior, toward illusory ends and centers. Its chains kill, it is an enormous centipede stifling independence. Married to logic, art would live in incest, swallowing, engulfing its own tail, still part of its own body, fornicating within itself, and passion would become a nightmare tarred with protestantism, a monument, a heap of ponderous gray entrails. But the suppleness, enthusiasm, even the joy of injustice, this little truth which we practice innocently and which makes its beautiful: we are subtle and our fingers are malleable and slippery as the branches of that sinuous, almost liquid plant; it defines our soul, say the cynics. That too is a point of view; but all flowers are not sacred, fortunately, and the divine thing in us is to call to anti-human action.

I am speaking of a paper flower for the buttonholes of the gentlemen who frequent the ball of masked life, the kitchen of grace, white cousins lithe or fat. They traffic with whatever we have selected. The contradiction and unity of poles in a single toss can be the truth. If one absolutely insists on uttering this platitude, the appendix of a libidinous, malodorous morality. Morality creates atrophy like every plague produced by intelligence. The control of morality and logic has inflicted us with impassivity in the presence of policemen who are the cause of slavery, putrid rats infecting the bowels of the bourgeoisie which have infected the only luminous clean corridors of glass that remained open to artists.

Let each man proclaim: there is a great negative work of destruction to be accomplished. We must sweep and clean. Affirm the cleanliness of the individual after the state of madness, aggressive complete madness of a world abandoned to the hands of bandits, who rend one another and destroy the centuries. Without aim or design, without organization: indomitable madness, decomposition. Those who are strong in words or force will survive, for they are quick in defense, the agility of limbs and sentiments flames on their faceted flanks.

Morality has determined charity and pity, two balls of fat that have grown like elephants, like planets, and are called good. There is nothing good about them. Goodness is lucid, clear and decided, pitiless toward compromise and politics. Morality is an injection of chocolate into the veins of all men. This task is not ordered by a supernatural force but by the trust of idea brokers and grasping academicians. Sentimentality: at the sight of a group of men quarreling and bored, they invented the calendar and the medicament wisdom. With a sticking of labels the battle of the philosophers was set off (mercantilism, scales, meticulous and petty measures) and for the second time it was understood that pity is a sentiment like diarrhea in relation to the disgust that destroys health, a foul attempt by carrion corpses to compromise the sun. I proclaim the opposition of all cosmic faculties to this gonorrhea of a putrid sun issued from the factories of philosophical thought, I proclaim bitter struggle with all the weapons of—

Dadaist Disgust

Every product of disgust capable of becoming a negation of the family is Dada; a protest with the fists of its whole being engaged in destructive action: Dada; know ledge of all the means rejected up until now by the shamefaced sex of comfortable compromise and good manners: Dada; abolition o/ logic, which is the dance of those impotent to create: Dada; of every social hierarchy and equation set up for the sake of values by our valets: Dada: every object, all objects, sentiments, obscurities, apparitions and the precise clash of parallel lines are weapons for the fight: Dada; abolition of memory: Dada; abolition of archaeology: Dada; abolition of prophets: Dada; abolition of the future: Dada; absolute and unquestionable faith in every god that is the immediate product of spontaneity:

Dada; elegant and unprejudiced leap from a harmony to the other sphere; trajectory of a word tossed like a screeching phonograph record; to respect all individuals in their folly of the moment: whether it be serious, fearful, timid, ardent, vigorous, determined, enthusiastic; to divest one's church of every useless cumbersome accessory; to spit out disagreeable or amorous ideas like a luminous waterfall, or coddle them—with the extreme satisfaction that it doesn't matter in the least—with the same intensity in the thicket of core's soul pure of insects for blood well-born, and gilded with bodies of archangels. Freedom: Dada Dada Dada, a roaring of tense colors, and interlacing of opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques, inconsistencies:  LIFE

sábado, 30 de março de 2013

The Voice Of Energy

This is the Voice of Energy
I am a giant electrical generator
I supply you with light and power
And I enable you to receive Speech,
Music and Image through the Ether

I am your servant and lord at the same time
Therefore guard me well
Me, the genius of Energy

Hier spricht die Stimme der Energie
Ich bin ein riesiger elektrischer Generator
Ich liefere Ihnen Licht und Kraft
Und ermögliche es Ihnen Sprache, Musik und Bild

Durch den Äther auszusenden und zu empfangen
Ich bin Ihr Diener und Ihr Herr zugleich
Deshalb hütet mich gut
Mich, den Genius der Energie

The Crowd (1928) King Vidor: Reshaping Human Values Beyond the Labour Society

When I came to Germany in 1997, I had the opportunity to meet a community leader from Detroit who told me about his experiences with free time for long-term unemployed in a place which is the prototype of the first post-industrial city in our "Brave New World of Work" (Ulrich Beck, 1999). He quoted ironically that old Karl Marx`s tirade, whereby in an emancipated world from shortages and misery, in that so-called "communist utopia", everyone would become a kind of Goethe or Einstein to exercise an unlimited creative potential, as Leon Trotzky totally false understood (“Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser, and subtler; his body will become more harmonious, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above these heights, new peaks will rise.”) and compared this generous counter image with the modest results he witnessed himself in that wilderness of ruins that are the suburbs of the former Auto-Metropole. As he added, Marx formulated this mocking tirade, like many others, which were never understood by his dogmatic disciples, as a sort of Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" subliminal parody.  Actually, Marx meant, as Hegel 's dialectical disciple, that it was quite exactly the contrary what would really happen. Once one is faced with the blank desert of reality, with his own true and meaningless ego, we, the common people, would eventually recognize that this fallen self is indeed a “last mask”, a last "blanket” of “ideology" and eventually then we would really committee ourselves to the true mundane tasks of everyday life in our "little beach of Happiness" as "humans, all too humans", as Hans Magnus Enzensberger once also sharp formulated in his essay on the revolutionary character of mass tourism. “Philosophy is properly Home-sickness; the wish to be everywhere at home”. (Novalis)

But precisely this prosaic dimension brings us a seed of hope, when the ultimate recognition that we are not geniuses or titans but simple human beings committed to each other, pushes the consciousness to the true and revolutionary measure of our Grandeur. Two years later, I interviewed the sociologist Ulrich Beck in Munich on his new book, on what he called at the time the emergence of a new paradigm of work, namely the so-called “'Brasilianisation' of labour and work in the West”, with the terminal erosion of full-employment at the heart of system for which there is no way back with the reallocation of jobs across the planet. Beck saw in the community work a unique opportunity to reconstruct individual identity, which could no longer be anchored in the old paradigm of full time work, beyond the chains of regulation and bureaucracy. As this old identity disappears forever from the horizon with the end of industrial society what we really testify are not the "virtues" or the new "heights" of human nature, but the administrated vices and new addictions in the misery of digital life and its autistic loneliness.

The Crowd (1928) by King Vidor is an extraordinary parable of this "turning point", when the couple loses their little child and the individual cry can no longer be heard in the crowd. What is at stake today is not the future of what still remains of the old Welfare State, or even to be the “last soldier of the New Deal” or of the "Great Society", but just  the reinvention of the most fundamental values ​​that define what is a human being in his solitude: love and freedom and the “wish to be everywhere home”.

The Crowd (1928) - John wins $500

The Crowd (1928) - Introduction to New York

quinta-feira, 28 de março de 2013

Who's Afraid of the Ivory Tower? A Conversation with Theodor W. Adorno

Translated, edited, and with an introduction by Gerhard Richter University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Philosophy, which once seemed passe,” Theodor W. Adorno’s Negative Dia­lectic begins, “remains alive because the moment of its realization was missed” (“Philosophie, die einmal überholt schien, erhält sich am Leben, weil der Augenblick ihrer Verwirklichung versäumt ward"). (1) This perspective encrypts the double movement of a simultaneous resignation or lament and a productive, enabling force. It is only because the philosophy of which Adorno speaks— negative dialectics—was not realized that its actualization is yet to come. That it once existed without becoming an actuality means that it still remains to be thought, as both a failure and a promise. The erratic traces of this double movement not only name but also enact Adorno’s notion of a negative dialec­tic. The movement of the negative dialectic of failure and promise has strongly marked the reception of the English translations of his writings. After all, Adorno’s German, and the thought that it enacts, is rigorously and infamously resistant to translation. His writing is both strange and foreign—fremd—even in its “original” German.

To acknowledge this strangeness is also to acknowledge that what Adorno says cannot be separated from how he says it. As Samuel Weber, one of Adorno's earliest translators so apodictieally and incontrovertibly puts it in his 1967 “Translating the Untranslatable,” the “specificity of Adorno’s thought is inseparable from its articulation,” so that “conceptual concreteness may be measured by the density with which thought and articulation perme­ate each other.” (2) For this reason, any translator who, in spite of these difficul­ties, attempts to translate Adorno's sentences runs the risk of constructing an Adorno who. in the words of one of his most astute American translators, Rob­ert Hullot-Kentor, appears “dubbed rather than translated.” (3) Thus, as Hullot- Kentor points out, while many admirable English translations of Adorno’s texts exist, others deserve to be retranslated. (4) The process is now well under way, with, for instance, Hullot-Kentor’s responsible retranslation of Aesthetic Theory which replaces the problematic British version of 1984. (5)

                         State Police Hessen

The following interview with Adorno has not received the attention that it deserves. It originally appeared on 5 May 1969, three months before the phi­losopher’s death, under the title “Keine Angst vor dem Elfenbeinturm” in the widely circulating German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel (6) Shortly after it appeared in Germany, an English translation, which has been virtually ig­nored in the American context, was published in a British journal. (7) In a very real sense, then, the “moment of its realization was missed.” To present this important document today in an entirely new translation, in agreement with Der Spiegel, means to take seriously—with a bit of Blochian non-syncronic- ity—the critical potential that it still may hold for readers interested in the relation between aesthetics and politics. But the re-presentation of the docu­ment today also requires an explanation of historical contexts and political ref­erences, glosses that culturally aware readers in 1969 may not have required and that were provided neither in the British translation nor by Adorno's Ger­man editors, who later included the text in his collected writings (Gesammelte Schriften). (8) I have therefore provided explanatory footnotes to clarify histori­cal references for today's readers.

To appropriate the conceptual content of the discussion with Adorno for our time also requires some contextualization in the tensions of its own time. The immediate occasion for the highly visible interview was Adorno's can­cellation of his University of Frankfurt lecture course “Introduction to Dialec­tical Thinking” during the summer semester of 1969, following confrontations with student activists who disrupted his lectures with heckling. During the pre­vious semester, Adorno’s decision to involve the police in clearing student oc­cupiers from the Institute for Social Research (the Frankfurt School’s depart­mental unit at the University of Frankfurt) had caused controversy. While some regarded Adorno's reliance on the authorities as a betrayal—a siding with the enemy against the common cause of social progress—others tended to agree with Adorno's assessment of the radical activism of some students as misguided or even, in the words of his former research assistant, Jurgen Habermas, as a form of “left-wing fascism.” (9) On the day that the Spiegel in­terview appeared, Adorno writes to his friend and Frankfurt School colleague Herbert Marcuse: “One should refrain from |... | demonizing the police whole­sale. 1 can only repeal that they treated the students much more gingerly than the students treated me. That was beyond description.” He continues: “The other day I was told by Mr. Cohn-Bendit during a departmental town meeting that I only had the right to call in the police if people actually wanted to beat me up with metal rods. I answered that then it would be too late.” (10)

The irony of the tensions between Adorno and some student activists are legible enough. On the one hand, his theories had contributed to the es­tablishment of the first general wave of political activism in Germany after Word War II and to a general critical engagement with the legacies of Ger­man fascism, a subject that had largely remained taboo after 1945. Examples of Adorno’s theoretical interventions that were especially significant in this regard included his and Horkheimer’s analysis of the culture industry, his dis­section ol'the authoritarian personality, his subversive reflections on what it means to be German, his meditations on education “after Auschwitz,” and his anti-fascist reflections, among many others. But on the other hand, more con­crete signs of solidarity were expected of Adorno after December 1966, es­pecially on the part of the “APO.” “APO” stands for "Außerparlamentarische Opposition” (“Extraparliamentary opposition”), the collective name of the German student and New Left movements, along with a variety of smaller op­positional groups that were not presented in the German parliament. The APO came into existence in 1967, in response to the “Grand Coalition” formed between Kurt Georg Kiesinger’s conservative CDU/CSU and Willy Brandt’s social-democratic SPD on 1 December 1966. that is. when almost no opposi­tion remained within the German parliament itself. Many in the APO now- looked to Adorno and other members of the Frankfurt .School for practical po­litical leadership, often in vein.

In a patricidal reversal that pitted parts of the Student Protest Movement and the New Left against one of their theoretical fathers, Adorno was sub­jected to a series of institutional and personal attacks at least since 1967. and leaflets proclaiming that “Adorno as an institution is dead” (“Adorno als In­stitution ist tot") were circulated during his lectures. For instance, when he was invited by Peter Szondi and Wilhelm Emrich on behalf of the Depart­ments of German and Comparative Literature at the Free University of Berlin to deliver a lecture in July 1967 on “The Classicism of Goethe’s Iphigenie,” a meditation that was later included as an essay in his Notes to Literature, Adorno was greeted with heckles on the part of some. Adorno had earlier re­fused to write a letter of support exculpating the activist Fritz Teufel, whose controversial hand-outs and leaflets had been read by his accusers not as a sat­ire but as a concrete incitement to arson and violence. Because Adorno refused to conduct a political discussion instead of delivering his lecture as planned, his detractors regarded his decision to speak on Goethe as a retreat from po­litical intervention into classicist aesthetics.

But the most notorious incident was yet to come. During an April 1969 assault, an instance of “planned tenderness” which has come to be known as the “breast action” (Busenaktion), three female sociology students wearing long leather jackets invaded the lecturer’s podium, sprinkled rose and tulip petals over Adorno’s head, attempted to plant lipstick kisses on his cheeks, ex­posed their naked breasts to him, and provoked him with erotic pantomimes. Adorno, attempting to protect himself with his briefcase, proceeded to exit “Hörsaal V” (“Lecture Hall V”). This attempt to embarrass Adorno publicly was a sign of the larger structure of misunderstanding between Adorno and those student activists who had grown increasingly impatient with their theoretically-minded teacher’s reluctance to engage in street interventions and other forms of political activism.

The tension and misunderstanding between Adorno and some of the student activists was by no means universal. Indeed, many found the public provocations of Adorno by a minority of students misplaced and embarassing. Those critical of the activities to which Adorno was subjected must have re­called not only their indebtness to the theoretical apparatus for a critical analy­sis of society and culture that he had supplied, but also Adorno’s general in­terest in being a public intellectual open to discussion and to a sustained engagement in concrete political causes. For instance, after the so-called German-American friendship week had been marred by severe street violence and clashes between protesters and the police in May 1967, Adorno, along with his colleague Max Horkheimer and others, on 12 June 1967 engaged in a pub­lic discussion with students and activists regarding the relationship between Critical Theory and political praxis. Similarly. Adorno spoke out publicly against the German Notstandsgesetze (Emergency Laws). Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Broad­cast Service). (11) And as Adorno reveals in a November 1968 letter to the writer Günter Grass, he maintained friendly relations with the Social Democratic politician Gustav Heinemann—then West Germany’s Minister of Justice and later, from 1969 through 1974, President of the Federal Republic—whom he closely advised regarding West Germany’s progressive criminal law reform. Similarly, Adorno was instrumental in helping to work out a compromise agreement between the “IG Metall.” West Germany’s Metal Workers’ Union, and their companies. But while he supported these and other political causes, such as then Foreign Minister and Vice Chancelor Willy Brandt’s concrete at­tempts to loosen the iron collar of Cold War ideologies through a new politi­cal relationship with countries to West Germany’s East, he remained suspicious of certain “aporias of the politics of reconciliation" (“Aporien der Versöh­nungspolitik’').

These included the politics that he feared would disguise the ways in which the Soviet Union's gestures of political reconciliation with its satellite states could also be read as attempts at even greater domination of these slates. Here, he feared, the questionable and deeply problematic politi­cal interests represented by both Washington and Moscow found a possible way of supplementing one another in their expansivist quests for world domi­nation. Rejecting what he often denounced as “erpreßte Versöhnung” (“forced reconciliation”), Adorno confesses to Grass his “mounting aversion to any kind of praxis in which my natural disposition and the objective hopelessness of praxis in this historical moment may meet each other.” (12) Between the writ­ing of these lines and his death some ten months later, this aversion may have grown ever more pronounced in light of the heightening intensity with which the personal attacks against him were carried out.

These Emergency Laws were to enable the German government to suspend certain basic demo­cratic citiziens’ rights when protests and concrete opposition threatened to destabilize the basic order of the state. The proposed bill that would make Emergency Laws legal in Germany was passed on 30 May 1968. Two days earlier, Adorno had made a last-minute effort to derail the passing of these laws, formulating a firm rejection of these curtailments of civil liberties in an address entitled “Gegen die Notstandsgesetze” (“Against the Emergency Laws”) in the “Große Sendesaal” of the

In the interview reproduced below, Adorno explains, in more lucid and conversational terms than is characteristic of his formal writings, his concep­tualization of the political relevance that his theoretical work may have. For Adorno, the political impact of his work is not to be measured by the extent to which it enables unmediated social praxis but rather by the extent to which it effects a broad change in consciousness. Here, the oppositional pair of thought and action itself is suspended. The text belongs in the general orbit of similar meditations that Adorno devoted to this subject in the late 1960s, such as his texts “Resignation” and “Marginalia on Theory and Praxis,” and his conversation regarding Critical Theory and the Protest Movement with the Südeutsche Zeitung. (13) Indeed, there is no sentence in Adorno’s mature work that is not touched by the political implications of the thoughts that he expresses in the Spiegel interview.

In my English translation, I have attempted to capture some of the in­formal conversational tone of Adorno’s sentences, a tone that may strike some readers as belonging to a surprisingly different register than that found in the formal and rigorous precision of his written works, where his German prose, in its persistent self-reflexivity and performativity, often appears, quite strate­gically, to resemble no living language. The sinewy lucidity of Adorno’s spo­ken and improvised language in this interview cannot be explained fully by Der Spiegel's editorial practices, as listeners to the recently published collec­tion of five compact disks containing a variety of his speeches and interviews can attest. (14) Adorno's fluid style as a live interlocutor and public speaker—es­pecially as he developed it for his various radio, television, and mass print ap­pearances soon following his return to Germany from American exile in 1949 —should be placed into a dynamic constellation with his written language to assess the shifting contours of his imagined relationship to the audience.

I wish to thank Der Spiegel for kindly granting me permission to trans­late and reprint this interview.

SPIEGEL: Professor Adorno, two weeks ago, the world still seemed in order. . .

ADORNO: Not to me.

SP: You said that your relations with the students were not strained. In your courses, you said, discussions were fruitful, sober, and untainted by personal disturbances. But now you have cancelled your lecture.

A: I did not cancel my lecture for the entire semester, but only un­til further notice. I hope to start up again in a few weeks. All colleagues do this when their lectures are so massively disrupted.

SP: Were you subjected to violence?

A: Not physical violence, but so much noise was made that my lec­ture would have been drowned by it. That was obviously the plan.

SP: Are you repulsed only by the manner in which students today take action against you—students who once were on your side—or did their political goals also disturb you? After all, it is fair to say that there used to be agreement between you and the rebels.

A: That is not the dimension in which our differences play them­selves out. Recently I said in a television interview that, even though I had established a theoretical model, I could not have foreseen that people would try to implement it with Molotov cocktails. This sentence has been cited numerous times, but it requires substantial interpretation.

SP: How would you interpret it today?

A: In my writings, I have never offered a model for any kind of ac­tion or for some specific campaign. I am a theoretical human being who views theoretical thinking as lying extraordinarily close to his artistic in­tentions. It is not as if I had turned away from praxis only recently; my thinking always has stood in a rather indirect relationship to praxis. My thinking has perhaps had practical consequences in that some of its mo­tifs have entered consciousness, but I have never said anything that was immediately aimed at practical actions. Ever since the first bedlam was organized against me in 1967 in Berlin, certain student groups have time and again attempted to force me into solidarity, demanding practical ac­tions of me. I have refused.

SP: But Critical Theory does not wish to keep conditions as they are. The SDS students learned this from you. (15) You, Professor Adorno, now refuse practical action. Are you not cultivating a mere "liturgy of cri­tique," as Dahrendorf claims?(16)

A: In the case of Dahrendorf, a tone of fresh and cheerful convic­tion reigns supreme: If only you change little things here and there, then perhaps everything will be better. (17) I cannot accept this presupposition. But among the APO, I always encounter the compulsive pressure to de­liver oneself, to join in; this is something I have resisted since my earliest youth. And in that area nothing has changed in me. I attempt to put into words what I see and what I think. But I cannot predicate this on what will be done with it or what will become of it.

SP: Scholarship in the ivory tower, then?

A: I am not at all afraid of the term "ivory tower." This term has cer­tainly seen better days, as when Baudelaire employed it. (18) But since you bring up the ivory tower: I believe that a theory is much more capable of having practical consequences owing to the strength of its own objec­tivity than if it had subjected itself to praxis from the start. Today's un­fortunate relationship between theory and praxis consists precisely in the fact that theory is subjected to a practical pre-censorship. For in­stance, people wish to forbid me to put into words simple things that show the illusionary character of many of the political goals that certain students have.

SP: But these students apparently have a large following.

A: A small group of students succeeds time and again in enforcing loyalty, something which the vast majority of leftist students may not fully resist. But I wish to emphasize again the following: They simply cannot refer to models of action that I allegedly gave them in order then to place me at odds with these models. There are no such models.

SP: Yet it is the case that students refer, at times very directly, at other times indirectly, to your critique of society. Without your theories, the student protest movement might not even have developed.

A: I do not wish to deny that. Nevertheless, it is difficult for me to assess this connection fully. I would like to believe, for instance, that a critique of the manipulation of public opinion—which I consider legiti­mate even in its demonstrative form—would not have been possible without the chapter on the culture industry in the Dialectic of Enlighten­ment by Horkheimer and myself. But I think that one often conceives the connection between theory and praxis too reductively. If one has taught and published for twenty years with the intensity that I have, it does en­ter into general consciousness.

SP: And thus also into praxis?

A: Possibly, but not necessarily so. In our writings, the value of so- called individual actions is delimited by an emphasis on societal totality.

SP: But how would one go about changing societal totality without individual action?

A: This is asking too much of me. In response to the question "What is to be done?/' I usually can only answer "I do not know." (19) I can only analyze relentlessly what is. In the process, I am reproached in the fol­lowing manner: "If you criticize, you have to say how to do better." But I consider this a bourgeois prejudice. Historically, there have been countless instances in which precisely those works that pursued purely theoretical intentions altered consciousness and, by extension, societal reality.

SP: But in your writings you have set Critical Theory apart from other kinds of theory. It should not merely describe reality empirically, but also should consider [mit bedenken] the proper organization of society.

A: Here, I was concerned with a critique of positivism. (20) Note that I said also consider [mit bedenken]. In no way does this sentence suggest that I would be so presumptuous as to tell people how to act.

SP: You once said, however, that Critical Theory should "lift the rock under which barbarism breeds." If the students are now throwing this rock—is this so incomprehensible?

A: Certainly not incomprehensible. I believe that their actionism [Aktionismus] (21) can essentially be traced back to despair, because peo­ple sense how little power they actually have to change society. But I am equally convinced that these individual actions are predestined to fail; this also proved to be the case during the May revolt in France. (22)

SP: So if individual actions are pointless, is not the "critical impo­tence," of which the SDS has accused you, the only thing that remains?

A: There is a sentence by Grabbe that reads: "For nothing but de­spair can save us." (23) This is provocative, but not at all dumb. I cannot fault someone living in our world today for feeling despairing, pes­simistic, and negative. Those who compulsively shout down their objec­tive despair with the noisy optimism of immediate action in order to lighten their psychological burden are much more deluded. (24)

SP: Your colleague Jürgen Habermas, also a proponent of Critical Theory, has now conceded in an essay that the students have developed an "imaginative provocationism" and have really managed to change some things. (25)

A: I would agree with Habermas on this point. I believe that the uni­versity reform, of which we incidentally do not yet know the outcome, would never have been set into motion without the students. (26) I believe that the general attention to processes of dumbing down, which are prevalent in our present society, would never have crystallized without the student movement. And furthermore, to mention something very concrete, I believe that it was only through the investigation, led by Berlin students, of the murder of Ohnesorg that this horrifying story pen­etrated public consciousness at all. (27) With this I wish to say that I in no way close myself off to practical consequences as long as they are trans­parent to me.

SP: And when have they been transparent to you?

A: I participated in demonstrations against Emergency Laws [Not­standsgesetze] , and I have done what I could in the area of criminal law reform. But there is a decisive difference between doing something like that and taking part in the half-crazed activity of throwing rocks at uni­versity institutes.

SP: How would you determine whether or not an action is worth­while?

A: For one thing, this decision depends in large measure on the con­crete situation. For another, I have the strongest reservations against any use of violence. I would have to disown my entire life—my experiences under Hitler and what I have observed of Stalinism—if I did not refuse to participate in the eternal circle of using violence to fight violence. The only meaningfully transformative praxis that I could imagine would be a non-violent one.

SP: Even under a Fascist dictatorship?

A: There certainly may be situations in which things would look dif­ferent. To a real Fascism, one can only react with violence. I am anything but rigid on this point. But I refuse to follow those who, after the murder of countless millions in the totalitarian states, still preach violence today. That is the decisive threshold.

SP: Did students cross that threshold when they attempted to pre­vent the delivery of Springer newspapers through sit-down strikes? (28)

A: I consider this sit-down strike legitimate.

SP: Was this threshold crossed when students disrupted your lec­tures with noise and sexual theatrics?

A: To think that they did this to me, of all people, someone who has always opposed any kind of erotic repression and sexual taboo! To mock me and to loose three girls dressed up as hippies on me! I found that repulsive. The comic effect achieved by this was nothing more than the reaction of a philistine (Spießbürger) who giggles "he-he!" (der Hihi! kichert)| at the sight of a girl with naked breasts. This nonsense was nat­urally planned in advance.

SP: Was this unusual act perhaps intended to ruffle your theory?

A: It seems to me that these actions against me have little to do with the content of my lectures; what is more important to the extreme wing is the publicity. They suffer from the fear of being forgotten. In this way they become slaves of their own publicity. A lecture such as mine, which is attended by about 1000 people, is obviously a magnificent forum for activist propaganda.

SP: Can this deed not also be interpreted as an act of despair? Per­haps the students felt left in the lurch by a theory that they had consid­ered at least capable of being translated into societal praxis?

A: The students did not even attempt to have a discussion with me. What makes my dealings with students so much more difficult today is the prioritization of tactics. My friends and I have the feeling that we have been reduced to mere objects in precisely calculated plans. The idea of minority rights, which after all is constitutive of freedom, no longer plays any role whatsoever. One blinds onself to the objectivity of the matter [Objektivität der Sache].

SP: And in the face of such abuses you make do without a defen­sive strategy?

A: My interests are turning increasingly toward philosophical the­ory. If I were to give practical advice, as Herbert Marcuse has done to a certain degree, it would detract from my productivity. (29) Much can be said against the division of labor; but even Marx, who in his youth at­tacked it vehemently, later on conceded that we cannot do without the division of labor after all. (30)

SP: You have chosen for yourself the theoretical part, then, leaving the practical part to others; indeed, they are already working on it. Would it not be preferable if theory simultaneously reflected praxis? And, by extension, also the present actions?

A: There are situations in which I would do this. At the moment, however, it seems much more important to me to think through the anat­omy of action ism.

SP: So, mere theory again?

A: I value theory more highly at this point. I dealt with these issues —especially in my Negative Dialectic—long before the current conflict erupted.

SP: In Negative Dialectic, we find the following resigned observa­tion: "Philosophy, which once seemed passé, remains alive because the moment of its realization was missed." (31) All conflicts aside, does such a philosophy not become "foolishness"? A question that you have asked yourself.

A: I still believe that one should hold on to theory, precisely under the general coercion toward praxis in a functional and pragmatized world. And I will not permit even the most recent events to dissuade me from what I have written.

SP: So far, as your friend Habermas once put it, your dialectic has, at its "blackest spots" of resignation, surrendered to "the destructive pull of the death drive." u

A: I would rather say that the compulsive clinging to what is posi­tive stems from the death drive. (32)

SP: Then, would it be the virtue of philosophy to look the negative in the eye but not to change it? (33)

A: Philosophy cannot in and of itself recommend immediate mea­sures or changes. It effects change precisely by remaining theory. I think that for once the question should be asked whether it is not also a form of resistance when a human being thinks and writes things the way I write them. Is theory not also a genuine form of praxis?

SP: Are there not situations, for example in Greece, in which you endorse action that goes beyond critical reflection? (34)

A: It goes without saying that in Greece I would approve of any kind of action. The situation that prevails there is totally different. But for someone who is ensconced in safety to advise others to start a revolution is so ridiculous that one ought to be ashamed of oneself.

SP: So, you continue to view the advancement of an analysis of so­cietal conditions as the most meaningful and necessary aspect of your ac­tivities in the Federal Republic?

A: Yes, and to immerse myself in very specific individual phenom­ena. I am not in the least ashamed to say very publicly that I am working on a major book on aesthetics. (35)

SP: Professor Adorno, we thank you for this conversation.

1. Negative Dialektik (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1975) 15. All translations are my own.

2. Samuel Weber, "Translating the Untranslatable," Introduction to Theodor W. Adorno, Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981) 9- 15, here 11f.

3. ’Robert Hullot-Kentor, "Translator's Introduction," in Theodor W. Adorno, Aes­thetic Theory, trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997) xi-xxi, here xv.

4. In addition to his "Translator's Introduction" to Aesthetic Theory, see also, for in­stance, his commentary on his retranslation of the Odysseus essay of Horkheimer's and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment: "Notes on Dialectic of Enlightenment: Translating the Odysseus Essay," New German Critique 56 (Spring-Summer 1992) 101 - 108.

5. For a commentary on this new translation in the context of Adorno's philosophy, compare turther Gerhard Richter, "Adorno's Scars, Bloch's Anacoluthon," German Politics and Society 18:4 (Winter 2000) 93-112.

6. Der Spiegel, 5 May 1969, vol. 23: 19, pp. 204-209.

7. It appeared under the somewhat misleading title "Of Barricades and Ivory Towers: An Interview with T. W. Adorno" in Encounter 33: 3 (1969) 63-69.

8. "Theodor W. Adorno, Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 20:1, Vermischte Schriften 1 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1986) 402-409.

9. ‘‘Habermas first used (his term in a discussion at the 1967 conference on "Bedin­gungen und Organisation des Widerstands" ("Conditions and Organization of Resis­tance") in Hannover. Specifically, he accused student leader Rudi Dutschke of an ideol­ogy that "under today's condition—at least I believe to have reason to suggest this terminology—one must call 'left-wing fascism'" ("linken Faschismus' nennen muß"). To­day, Habermas's remarks, along with others he made in the context of the Protest Move­ment, can be found in his Kleine Politische Schriften l-IV (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1981) 199-307, here 214.

10. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, today a Green Party member of the European Parliament, was one of the most influential and charismatic figures in the Protest Movement in both Germany and France. For book-length articulations of Cohn-Bendit's views on political activism in the context of the Protest Movement, see Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, Linksradikalismus. Gewaltkur gegen die Alterskrankheit des Kommunismus (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1968) and, more recently, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Wir haben sie so geliebt, die Revolution (Bodenheim: Phi Io.-Verlag, 1998).
Adorno's letter is located in the Herbert Marcuse Archive of the Stadt- und Univer­sitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main. It has recently been made available in the compre­hensive three-volume collection of documents Frankfurter Schule und Studentenbewe­gung: Von der Flaschenpost zum Molotowcoctail 1946-1995, ed. Wolfgang Kraushaar (Frankfurt am Main: Rogner und Bernhard bei Zweitausendeins, 1998), volume 2, 624- 625, here 624. This collection also contains a series of interesting essays by a variety of scholars on the relationship between the Student Movement and the Frankfurt School. For more general assessments of the German Student Movement, see, among others, Gerhard Bauß, Die Studentenbewegung der sechziger Jahre in der Bundesrebublik und Westber­lin. Ein Handbuch (Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1977) and lürgen Miermeister and lochen Staadt, eds., Provokation. Die Studenten- und lugendrevolte in ihren Flugblättern 1965- 1971 (Darmstadt: Luchterhand, 1980).

11. "Gegen die Notstandsgesetze," Gesammelte Schriften 20:1, Vermischte Schriften I, 396-397.

12. Adorno's letter to Grass is located in the Adorno archive in Frankfurt. It is repro­duced in Frankfurter Schule und Studentenbewegung, 472 - 474, here 474.

13. The essays can be found in his Gesammelte Schriften 10:2, Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft II, 794-799, 759-782, respectively. The interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung can be found in Gesammelte Schriften 20:1, Vermischte Schriften /, 398-401.

14. Theodor W. Adorno, Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit: Reden und Gespräche, se­lected and with an accompanying text by Rolf Tiedemann, 5 Compact Disks (Munich: Der HörVerlag, 1999).

15. "SDS" is an abbreviation of "Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund" (Socialist German Students' Union), founded in 1946 with the support of Germany's Social Demo­cratic Party (SPD) and dissolved in 1970.

16. The critic in question is Lord Ralf Dahrendorf (b. 1929), the German-born British sociologist and former FDP (Free Democratic Party) politician. The controversy between Adorno and Dahrendorf regarding the relationship between theory and praxis took place in Frankfurt in April 1968 at the "Deutscher Soziologentag," the conference of German so­ciologists, where Adorno had held the opening keynote address on "Late Capitalism or In­dustrial Society?" The following day, Dahrendorf responded critically to Adorno's lecture with his own presentation, initiating an intense debate. Dahrendorfs anti Adorno's papers, along with their discussions, are documented in the conference's published proceedings, Spätkapitalismus oder Industriegesellschaft? Verhandlungen des 16. Soziologentages. Im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie herausgeben von Theodor W. Adorno (Stuttgart: Elms, 1969).

17. Adorno here alludes to his conviction, expressed most memorably in Minima Moralia: "Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen" ("There is no right life within the wrong one"). Minima Moralia (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1969) 42.

18. Among other things, Adorno here alludes to Baudelaire's initial support of the 1848 revolution that initiated France's Second Republic and his later retreat from political life following his disenchantment with that revolutions's results.

19. The implicit reference here is to Lenin's famous 1902 meditiation on "What Is to Be Done?" See Vladimir I. Lenin, What Is to Be Done? trans. S.V. and Patricia Utechin, ed. S.V. Utechin (Oxford: Claredon, 1963).

20. Adorno here refers to the so-called Positivismusstreit (Positivism debate) in which he was engaged, arguing against the straightjacket that uncritical, positivistic sociological paradigms such as those propagated by Alphons Silbermann imposed on a critical theory of society. See especially Theodor W. Adorno et al., Der Positivismusstreit in der deut­schen Soziologie (Neuwied: Luchterhand, I969).

21. I have rendered Adorno's German term "Aktionismus" as the somewhat strange- sounding English term "actionism" in order to preserve in the neologism his critical em­phasis on the ideological dimension of a belief that favors action and intervention at all cost and with dogmatic fervor.

22. Adorno here evokes the May 1968 events in France, during which Paris was sub­jected to violent police oppression following a series of strikes and an attempted general revolt, in which many French intellectuals, among them Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Fou­cault, and Jacques Derrida, had taken part. In the wake of bloody street battles and civil war-like unrest, Charles De Gaulle dissolved the French National Assembly and instigated new parliamentary elections.

23. The original sentence quoted by Adorno reads "Denn nichts als nur Verzweiflung kann uns retten." Such formulations were often used, in different variations, by the early 19th century dramatist Christian Dietrich Grabbe in such plays as Herzog Theodor von Gothland, Die Hermannsschlacht, and Marius und Sulla. They are often considered "nihilistic."

24. Implicitly, Adorno here also alludes to others on the left, such as Georg Lukács, who had risked his life in the 1956 Hungarian uprising and who had faulted Adorno for valorizing despair as a politically productive category. In July 1962, Lukács had in the new introduction to his Theory of the Novel explicitly singled out Adorno for criticism: "A good part of the leading German intelligentsia, among them Adorno, has moved into the 'Grand Hotel Abyss,' a 'beautiful hotel,' as I wrote on the occasion of my critique of Schopen- hauer, 'equipped with all amenities at the edge of the abyss, nothingness, and meaning­lessness. And the daily sight of this abyss, in between cozily enjoyed meals or artistic products, can only enhance the pleasure of this refined comfort." Die Theorie des Romans (Darmstadt: Luchterhand, 1984) 16.

25. The essay in question is Habermas's 1969 "Protestbewegung und Hochschulre­form" (Protest Movement and University Reform), now collected in his Kleine Politische Schriften l-IV (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1981) 265-303. Habermas speaks of the students' "phantasiereichen Provokationismus" on page 284.

26. At stake in this university reform was a far-reaching democratization of the aca­demic system in the Federal Republic. One of the most pervasive slogans associated with the reform movement was the students' assessment of their professors: "Unter den Talaren—der Muff von 1000 Jahren" ("Under their robes—the smell of 1000 years"). One of the earliest and most influential publications that helped to set the reform movement into motion was Georg Picht, Die deutsche Bildungskatastrophe (Olten: Walter Verlag, 1964).

27. The student Benno Ohnesorg was shot and killed on 2 June 1967 in Berlin during a demonstration against the visit by Riza Shah Pahlavi of Persia, who had crushed democratic uprisings and who had come to stand as a symbol for political oppression.

28. Germany's Springer Publishing House is considered by many to have a conser­vative or even right-wing agenda. It is the publisher of Germany's most widely read daily, the tabloid Bild-Zeitung and of newspapers such as Die Welt and Die Welt am Sonntag. In fact, there was an extensive grassroots anti-Springer campaign, and members of the APO along with writers such as Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Peter Schneider con­ducted the so-called Springer-Hearings in West Berlin from September 1967 through April 1968. During these Springer tribunals led by students and intellectuals, one of the most memorable slogans was "Bild schießt mit" (“Bild shoots along," or "Bild shoots as well").

29. lt should be noted that Marcuse, who played an active role both in the US and in West Germany during the revolts, later took exception to Adorno's characterization of his stance. As Marcuse writes to Adorno on 4 June 1969, about a month after the Spiegel in­terview appeared: "You know that you and I both reject any unmediated politicization of theory. But our (old) theory has an inner political content, an inner political dynamic, which today more than ever pushes toward a concrete political posilion. This does not mean giving 'practical advice,' as you claim of me in your Spiegel interview. I have never done that. Like you, I find it irresponsible to encourage, from one's desk, action in those who, in full awareness, are prepared to have their heads smashed in the service of the cause. But this means, in my view, that in order for us to remain our 'old' Institute, we must write and act differently than we did thirty years ago. Even undamaged theory is not im­mune to reality. While it is wrong to negate the difference between the two (as you justly accuse the students), it is just as wrong to hold on abstractly to this difference in its previ­ous form, if it changes in a reality that comprises (or opens up) both theory and praxis." Frankfurter Schule und Studentenbewegung, 649-650.

30. In his discussion of the division of labor, Adorno is presumably referring, on the one hand, to the early Marx's Pariser Manuskript, which criticizes the division of labor, and, on the other hand, to the later Marx of the third volume of Das Kapital, in which he juxtaposes, more pragmatically, what he names "the realm of freedom" and "the realm of necessity." Karl Marx, Das Kapital, vol. 3 (Berlin: Dietz, 1987) 828.

31 See footnote 1.

32. Spiegel is quoting from Habermas's 1963 essay on Adorno, "Ein philosophieren­der Intellektueller." There, Habermas worries that the "dialectic of enlightenment," "at its blackest spots" ("an ihren schwärzesten Stellen") "despairs in light of its final turnover." In that case, Habermas writes, the "dialectic: of enlightenment" resigns itself to the thesis of the "counter-enlightenment," which argues that horror cannot be abolished without also obliteration civilization itself. In this scenario, the dialectic of which Habermas speaks would "surrender to the destructive pull of the death drive" ("überläßt sie sich dem de­struktiven Sog des Todestriebs"). But because Habermas does not italicize or put into quo­tation marks the phrase "dialectic of enlightenment," it cannot be decided for certain whether he means Adorno's and Horkheimer's specific work by that name or the actual dialectic that is at play in the enlightenment. This is an important difference that the Spiegel ignores. By foreclosing the double reading that Habermas's passage enables, the question misses the opportunity to conceive of this undecidability as the very enactment of the dialectical structure that it addresses. "Ein philosophierender Intellektueller" in his Philosophisch-Politische Profile, enlarged edition (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987) 160-166, here 165.
Be that as it may, we might note that Habermas's reference to the death drive ("Todestrieb") is overdetermined in that it also evokes the Freudian elements in Adorno's philosophy. Compare further, for instance, Freud's elaborations on the death drive in his 1923 Das Ich und das Es. In: Sigmund Freud, Studienausgabe, vol. 3 (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2000) 273-330. Adorno shared with the rest of the Frankfurt School an interest in the development of a new Critical Theory founded on an innovative constellation of the theories of Hegel, Marx, and Freud.

33. The reference here is to the eleventh of Marx's "Thesen über Feuerbach": "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways; the point is to change it (Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert; es kömmt darauf an, sie zu verändern) ." Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels, Werke, vol. 3 (Berlin: Dietz, 1987) 7. The Spiegel interviewer seems to miss the point—already implied in Marx's own perspective— that for a change of the world to occur, this change must be based on a prior interpretation or reinterpretation of the world and the ideologies that trave it. This interpretation is the task of philosophical inquiry. For Adorno's own reflections on the relation between theory and praxis in the context of a negative dialectics that perpetuates and transforms the proj­ects of Kant, Hegel, and Marx, see the "Einleitung" to his Negative Dialektik, 1 3-66.

34. Following a coup d'etat by the Greek army on 21 June 1967 under the leader­ship of General Gregorius Spandidakis, a military regime was installed and democratic politicians were arrested. Constantine Kollias became Greece's new Prime Minister. In De­cember, Colonel Georgias Papadopoulos became Greece's new Prime Minister and, be­ginning one year later, its de-facto dictator. Greece began to return to democratic condi­tions in late 1973.

35. This work, which remained unfinished at the time of Adorno's death in Au­gust 1969, was published posthumously one year later as Ästhetische Theorie under the editorship of Adorno's widow, Gretel Adorno, and his student Rolf Tiedemann. Theodor W. Adorno, Ästhetische Theorie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1970).

Monatshefte, Vol. 94, No. 1, 2002 0026-9271 /2002/0001 /010
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