Theodor Adorno quotes

  • Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Animal #Thinking #Holocaust

  • There is no love that is not an echo.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Echoes

  • True thoughts are those alone which do not understand themselves.
    -- Theodor Adorno

  • Every work of art is an uncommitted crime.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Crime #Uncommitted

  • Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Personality #Tolerance #Mark

  • Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Inspirational #Life #Art

  • Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Men #Technology #Gestures

  • Triviality is evil - triviality, that is, in the form of consciousness and mind that adapts itself to the world as it is, that obeys the principle of inertia. And this principle of inertia truly is what is radically evil.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Evil #Mind #World

  • Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Life #Life Changing

  • As naturally as the ruled always took the morality imposed upon them more seriously than did the rulers themselves, the deceived masses are today captivated by the myth of success even more than the successful are. Immovably, they insist on the very ideology which enslaves them. The misplaced love of the common people for the wrong which is done to them is a greater force than the cunning of the authorities.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Successful #People #Done

  • Fascism is itself less 'ideological', in so far as it openly proclaims the principle of domination that is elsewhere concealed.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Principles #Fascism #Domination

  • Horror is beyond the reach of psychology.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Psychology #Horror

  • Insane sects grow with the same rhythm as big organizations. It is the rhythm of total destruction.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Organization #Insane #Destruction

  • The human is indissolubly linked with imitation: a human being only becomes human at all by imitating other human beings.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Empathy #Imitating Others #Imitation

  • Love is the power to see similarity in the dissimilar.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Love #Love Is #Romance

  • The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Order #Design

  • Intelligence is a moral category.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Moral #Categories

  • Work while you work, play while you play - this is a basic rule of repressive self-discipline.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Inspirational #Play #Self

  • Freedom would be not to choose between black and white but to abjure such prescribed choices.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Black And White #Choices #Would Be

  • The capacity for fear and for happiness are the same, the unrestricted openness to experience amounting to self-abandonment in which the vanquished rediscovers himself.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Fear #Self #Abandonment

  • Today self-consciousness no longer means anything but reflection on the ego as embarrassment, as realization of impotence: knowing that one is nothing.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Mean #Reflection #Self

  • He who has laughter on his side has no need of proof.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Happiness #Laughter #Joy

  • But he who dies in despair has lived his whole life in vain.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Life #Despair #Vain

  • In many people it is already an impertinence to say 'I'.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #People

  • Modernity is a qualitative, not a chronological, category.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Categories

  • In organized groups such as the army or the Church there is either no mention of love whatsoever between the members, or it is expressed only in a sublimated and indirect way, through the mediation of some religious imagine in the love of whom the members unite and whose all-embracing love they are supposed to imitate in their attitude towards each other. ... It is one of the basic tenets of fascist leadership to keep primary libidinal energy on an unconscious level so as to divert its manifestations in a way suitable to political ends.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Religious #Attitude #Army

  • The poor are prevented from thinking by the discipline of others, the rich by their own.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Thinking #Discipline #Rich

  • The forms of art reflect the history of man more truthfully than do documents themselves.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Men #Form

  • All the world's not a stage.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #World #Stage

  • On their way toward modern science human beings have discarded meaning. The concept is replaced by the formula, the cause by rules and probability.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Way #Causes #Modern

  • The work of art still has something in common with enchantment: it posits its own, self-enclosed area, which is withdrawn from the context of profane existence, and in which special laws apply.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Self #Law

  • Art respects the masses, by standing up to them for what they could be, rather than conforming to them in their degraded state.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #States #Mass

  • The triumph of advertising in the culture industry is that consumers feel compelled to buy and use its products even though they see through them.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Use #Triumph #Culture

  • People at the top are closing ranks so tightly that all possibility of subjective deviation has gone, and difference can be sought only in the more distinguished cut of an evening dress.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Cutting #Differences #People

  • The dialectic cannot stop short before the conceptsof health and sickness, nor indeed before their siblings reason and unreason.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Sibling #Sickness #Reason

  • In the innermost recesses of humanism, as its very soul, there rages a frantic prisoner who, as a Fascist, turns the world into a prison.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Soul #World #Prison

  • The sublime is only a step removed from the ridiculous.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Sublime #Steps #Ridiculous

  • One must have tradition in oneself, to hate it properly.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Hate #Tradition #Oneself

  • Thought as such… is an act of negation, of resistance to that which is forced upon it; this is what thought has inherited from its archetype, the relation between labor and material. Today, when ideologues tend more than ever to encourage thought to be positive, they cleverly note that positivity runs precisely counter to thought, and that it takes friendly persuasion by social authority to accustom thought to positivity.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Running #Positivity #Being Positive

  • History does not merely touch on language, but takes place in it.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #History #Doe #Language

  • 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.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Lying #Silence #Doe

  • Even the loveliest dream bears like a blemish its difference from reality, the awareness that what it grants is mere illusion.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Dream #Reality #Differences

  • The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying-glass available.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Eye #Glasses #Splinters

  • 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.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Lying #Believe #Reality

  • Art as a whole is a riddle. Another way of putting this is to say that art expresses something while at the same time hiding it.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Poetry #Way

  • Very evil people cannot really be imagined dying.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #People #Evil #Dying

  • All testify to the coercion and sacrifice which culture imposes on man. To rely on them and deny the decline is to become even more firmly caught in its fatal coils.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Sacrifice #Men #Culture

  • Knowledge, which is power, knows no limits, either in its enslavement of creation or in its deference to worldly masters.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Knowledge #Limits #Creation

  • The taboos that constitute a man's intellectual stature, often sedimented experiences and unarticulated insights, always operate against inner impulses that he has learned to condemn, but which are so strong that only an unquestioning and unquestioned authority can hold them in check.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Strong #Men #Intellectual

  • It is incumbent upon philosophy ... to provide a refuge for freedom. Not that there is any hope that it could break the political tendencies that are throttling freedom throughout the world both from within and without and whose violence permeates the very fabric of philosophical argumentation.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Philosophy #Philosophical #Political

  • In the nineteenth century the Germans painted their dream and the outcome was invariably vegetable. The French needed only to paint a vegetable and it was already a dream.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Dream #Vegetables #Outcomes

  • What is or is not the jargon is determined by whether the word is written in an intonation which places it transcendently in opposition to its own meaning; by whether the individual words are loaded at the expense of the sentence, its propositional force, and the thought content.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Jargon #Determined #Individual

  • It is one of the basic tenets of fascist leadership to keep primary libidinal energy on an unconscious level so as to divert its manifestations in a way suitable to political ends.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Political #Levels #Way

  • The expression if history in things is no other than that of past torment.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Past #Expression #Torment

  • The important thing is not the planning of an Index Verborum Prohibitorum of current noble nouns, but rather the examination of their linguistic function.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Important #Nouns #Examination

  • Art is the social antithesis of society, not directly deducible from it.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Social #Art Is

  • Indeed, happiness is nothing other than being encompassed, an after-image of the original shelter within the mother. But for this reason no one who is happy can know that he is so. To see happiness, he would have to pass out of it: to be as if already born. He who says he is happy lies, and in invoking happiness, sins against it. He alone keeps faith who says: I was happy.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Mother #Lying #Shelter

  • The thought that murders the wish that fathered it will be overtaken by the revenge of stupidity
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Revenge #Stupidity #Wish

  • They [the critics] deal with Schoenberg's early works and all their wealth by classifying them, with the music-historical cliché, as late romantic post-Wagnerian. One might just as well dispose of Beethoven as a late-classicist post-Haydnerian.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Historical #Might #Wealth

  • 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 Adorno

    #Revenge #Independent #Home

  • There is no true life within a false life.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #True Life

  • Advancing bourgeois society liquidates memory, time, recollection as irrational leftovers of the past.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Memories #Past #Leftovers

  • Humanity had to inflict terrible injuries on itself before the self, the identical, purpose-directed, masculine character of human beings was created, and something of this process is repeated in every childhood.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Character #Self #Childhood

  • Vague expression permits the hearer to imagine whatever suits him and what he already thinks in any case.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Thinking #Expression #Suits

  • What the philosophers once knew as life has become the sphere of private existence and now of mere consumption, dragged along as an appendage of the process of material production, without autonomy or substance of its own.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Life #Substance #Spheres

  • In myths the warrant of grace was the acceptance of sacrifice; it is this acceptance that love, the re-enactment of sacrifice, beseeches if it is not to feel under a curse.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Love #Sacrifice #Acceptance

  • What human beings seek to learn from nature is how to use it to dominate wholly both it and human beings. Nothing else counts.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Nature #Use #Humans

  • The culture industry perpetually cheats its consumers of what it perpetually promises. The promissory note which, with its plots and staging, it draws on pleasure is endlessly prolonged; the promise, which is actually all the spectacle consists of, is illusory: all it actually confirms is that the real point will never be reached, that the diner must be satisfied with the menu.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Real #Promise #Culture

  • In Anglo-Saxon countries the prostitutes look as if they purveyed, along with sin, the attendant pains of hell.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Country #Pain #Looks

  • The basest person is capable of perceiving the weaknesses of the greatest, the most stupid, the errors in the thought of the most intelligent.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Stupid #Intelligent #Errors

  • Rigour and purity in assembling words, however simple the result, create a vacuum.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Simple #Vacuums #Purity

  • The creed of evil has been, since the beginnings of highly industrialized society, not only a precursor of barbarism but a mask of good. The worth of the latter was transferred to the evil that drew to itself all the hatred and resentment of an order which drummed good into its adherents so that it could with impunity be evil.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Order #Evil #Hatred

  • In the end, the writer is not even allowed to live in his writing.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Writing #Ends

  • The phrase, the world wants to be deceived, has become truer than had ever been intended. People are not only, as the saying goes, falling for the swindle; if it guarantees them even the most fleeting gratification they desire a deception which is nonetheless transparent to them. They force their eyes shut and voice approval, in a kind of self-loathing, for what is meted out to them, knowing fully the purpose for which it is manufactured. Without admitting it they sense that their lives would be completely intolerable as soon as they no longer clung to satisfactions which are none at all.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Fall #Eye #Self

  • It is Proust's courtesy to spare the reader the embarrassment of believing himself cleverer than the author.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Believe #Proust #Courtesy

  • The noiseless din that we have long known in dreams, booms at us in waking hours from newspaper headlines.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Dream #Long #Waking

  • Death is imposed only on creatures, not their creations, and has therefore always appeared in art in a broken form: as allegory.
    -- Theodor Adorno

    #Art #Broken #Creation

  • There is no right life in the wrong one.
    -- Theodor Adorno