On living through difficult times

A Reading Note

It follows directly from this that anyone who attempts to come out alive—and survival itself has something nonsensical about it, like dreams in which, having experienced the end of the world, one afterwards crawls from a basement—ought also to be prepared at each moment to end his life.

Adorno, Minima Moralia, page 38

Much of Adorno’s writing is structured in these seemingly contradictory statements. But rather than stand in opposition, the competing statements tangle and coalesce into something else entirely—a tool for subversion instead of nihilism.

…what in the days of art nouveau was known as a beautiful death has shrunk to the wish to curtail the infinite abasement of living and the infinite torment of dying, in a world where there are far worse things to fear than death. The objective end of humanism is only another expression for the same thing. It signifies that the individual as individual, in representing the species of man, has lost the autonomy through which he might realize the species.

Adorno, Minima Moralia, page 38

The circular syntax makes for a slight spinning feeling as you read, something Adorno no doubt intended.

Related books