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Theodor Adorno’s Most Powerful Quotes

Theodor Adorno was born on September 11, 1903 in Germany. In 1924, he received his Philosophy degree from the Univeristy of Frankfurt. He joined the University of Frankfurt and taught Philosophy.

During the Nazi domination, Adorno left Germany and moved to England, and afterwards to the United States. Following the end of the war, Adorno took the position as director of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt from 1956 until his death in 1969.

Theodor Adorno was influenced by philosphers such as Hegel, Nietzsche and Marx. He has been a poignant obrserver of human sufferings and how the modern society has failed its citizens.

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Theodor Adorno

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From cultural and social identity to globalization, to the cultural industry, Adorno has mainly written on topics which are so much in discussion in our era. Furthermore, he coined the term “identity thinking” to describe how categorical thinking was taking over our society and behaviour where the other is dominated and controlled by the Subject and such kind of intrumental reason led to violence and atrocities of National Socialism.

Theodor Adorno published various works such as In Search of Wagner, Aesthetic Theory, Negative Dialectics, Minima Moralia, Dialectic of Enlightenment and Towards a New Manifesto.

He died of a heart attack on August 6, 1969 in Switzerland.

Go through our Theodor Adorno Quotes and learn more about this thoughts and words about about technology, Culture, Society and the Self.

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

Theodor Adorno

No emancipation without that of society.

Theodor Adorno

Proletarian language is dictated by hunger. The poor chew words to fill their bellies.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

Normality is death.

Theodor Adorno

The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.

Theodor Adorno

No harm comes to man from outside alone: dumbness is the objective spirit.

Theodor Adorno

Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men.

Theodor Adorno

Modernity is a qualitative, not a chronological, category.

Theodor Adorno

Love you will find only where you may show yourself weak without provoking strength.

Theodor Adorno

Love is the power to see similarity in the dissimilar.

Theodor Adorno

Life has become the ideology of its own absence.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

Intelligence is a moral category.

Theodor Adorno

None of the abstract concepts comes closer to fulfilled utopia than that of eternal peace.

Theodor Adorno

The hardest hit, as everywhere, are those who have no choice.

Theodor Adorno

The splinter in your eye is the best magnifying-glass.

Theodor Adorno

The recent past always presents itself as if destroyed by catastrophes.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

The most powerful person is he who is able to do least himself and burden others most with the things for which he lends his name and pockets the credit.

Theodor Adorno

The man for whom time stretches out painfully is one waiting in vain, disappointed at not finding tomorrow already continuing yesterday.

Theodor Adorno

The joke of our time is the suicide of intention.

Theodor Adorno

Quality is decided by the depth at which the work incorporates the alternatives within itself, and so masters them.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

The good man is he who rules himself as he does his own property: his autonomous being is modelled on material power.

Theodor Adorno

The gods look in pleasure on penitent sinners.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

The culture industry not so much adapts to the reactions of its customers as it counterfeits them.

Theodor Adorno

The almost insoluble task is to let neither the power of others, nor our own powerlessness, stupefy us.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

The individual mirrors in his individuation the preordained social laws of exploitation, however mediated.

Theodor Adorno

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

Exuberant health is always, as such, sickness also.

Theodor Adorno

Everything that has ever been called folk art has always reflected domination.

Theodor Adorno

Every work of art is an uncommitted crime.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

But he who dies in despair has lived his whole life in vain.

Theodor Adorno

For a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.

Theodor Adorno

Art is permitted to survive only if it renounces the right to be different, and integrates itself into the omnipotent realm of the profane.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

Anti-Semitism is the rumour about the Jews.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

Advice to intellectuals: let no-one represent you.

Theodor Adorno

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.

Theodor Adorno

A German is someone who cannot tell a lie without believing it himself.

Theodor Adorno

Because thought has by now been perverted into the solving of assigned problems, even what is not assigned is processed like a problem.

Theodor Adorno

History does not merely touch on language, but takes place in it.

Theodor Adorno

The specific is not exclusive: it lacks the aspiration to totality.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

In psycho-analysis nothing is true except the exaggerations.

Theodor Adorno

In many people it is already an impertinence to say ‘I’.

Theodor Adorno

In his state of complete powerlessness the individual perceives the time he has left to live as a brief reprieve.

Theodor Adorno

If time is money, it seems moral to save time, above all one’s own, and such parsimony is excused by consideration for others. One is straight-forward.

Theodor Adorno

Fascism is itself less ‘ideological’, in so far as it openly proclaims the principle of domination that is elsewhere concealed.

Theodor Adorno

Horror is beyond the reach of psychology.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

He who stands aloof runs the risk of believing himself better than others and misusing his critique of society as an ideology for his private interest.

Theodor Adorno

He who matures early lives in anticipation.

Theodor Adorno

He who integrates is lost.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

Happiness is obsolete: uneconomic.

Theodor Adorno

If across the Atlantic the ideology was pride, here it is delivering the goods.

Theodor Adorno

Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.

Theodor Adorno

There is no love that is not an echo.

Theodor Adorno

The whole is the false.

Theodor Adorno

Thinking no longer means anymore than checking at each moment whether one can indeed think.

Theodor Adorno

To say ‘we’ and mean ‘I’ is one of the most recondite insults.

Theodor Adorno

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

True thoughts are those alone which do not understand themselves.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

When all actions are mathematically calculated, they also take on a stupid quality.

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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

Theodor Adorno

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