On following paths

A Reading Note

One of the best ways to discover new books is to follow the paths that other books leave for you:

Despite—or especially because of—this loss of faith in modernity and rationality, Adorno’s work seems just as necessary now as when I encountered it twenty years ago. His long paragraphs anticipate and consider the doubts, act out the contradictions and inconsequences—and yet, just through this endeavor of critical thought, leave the reader with the sense of something won, and with the need to go on thinking.

Kinross, Unjustified Texts, page 185

It’s hard to pass by an endorsement like that. And Adorno doesn’t disappoint, even in the first paragraph of the dedication:

The melancholy science from which I make this offering to my friend relates to a region that from time immemorial was regarded as the true field of philosophy, but which, since the latter’s conversion into method, has lapsed into intellectual neglect, sententious whimsy and finally oblivion: the teaching of the good life. What 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.…Our perspective of life has passed into an ideology which conceals the fact that there is life no longer.

Adorno, Minima Moralia, page 15

If this is a bread crumb trail through the woods, I believe I’ve just found a dark but inviting cave to explore.

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