An important reading to understand Critical Theory.
Originally published in Hans-Jürgen Krahl, Konstitution und Klassenkampf(Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Neue Kritik, 1971), pp. 285-288. English translation by Pat Murray and Ruth Heydebrand: TelosFall 1974no. 21, pp. 164-167. See also: Hans-Jürgen Krahl (1943-1970)/ Für Krahl (Reinicke, 1973)/ Krahl oder Adorno.
Adorno’s intellectual biography, even in its most aesthetic abstractions, is marked by the experience of Fascism. The mode in which this experience is reflected—by deciphering from the works of art the insoluble relation between critique and suffering—constitutes the uncompromising claim to negation, while simultaneously setting limits to it. “Damaged life,” through reflection on fascist domination as generated by the natural economic catastrophes of the capitalist mode of production, is aware of its entanglement in the ideological contradictions of bourgeois individualism, whose irrevocable decay it has understood; at the same time, it cannot disengage from it. Fascist terror produces not only the understanding…
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