On process

A Reading Note

The injunction to practise intellectual honesty usually amounts to sabotage of thought. The writer is urged to show explicitly all the steps that have led him to his conclusion, so enabling every reader to follow the process through, and, where possible—in the academic industry—to duplicate it. This demand not only invokes the liberal fiction of the universal communicability of each and every thought and so inhibits their objectively appropriate expression, but is also wrong in itself as a principle of representation. For the value of a thought is measured by its distance from the continuity of the familiar.

Adorno, Minima Moralia, page 80

There’s a certain amount of alchemy to writing that ought not to be expunged. It’s tempting to try to sort it out (a temptation I am often prone to), but in the sorting you’ll inevitably lose the whole.

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