The abbreviations (e.g. NATO, UN, USSR - E.W.) denote that and only that which is institutionalized in such a way that the transcending connotation is cut off. The meaning is fixed, doctored, loaded. Once it has become an official vocable, constantly repeated in general usage, "sanctioned" by the intellectuals, it has lost all cognitive value and serves merely for recognition of an unquestionable fact.
The range of socially permissible and desirable satisfaction is greatly enlarged, but through this satisfaction, the Pleasure Principle is reduced deprived of the claims which are irreconcilable with the established society. Pleasure, thus adjusted, generates submission.
Our mass media have little difficulty in selling particular interests as those of all sensible men. The political needs of society become individual needs and aspirations, their satisfaction promotes business and the commonweal, and the whole appeals to be the very embodiment of Reason.
Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the Establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another. Pbscene is not the picture of a naked woman who exposes her pubic hair but that of a fully clad general who exposes his medals rewarded in a war of aggression; obscene is not the ritual of the Hippies but the declaration of a high dignitary of the Church that war is necessary for peace.
To the degree to which they correspond to the given reality, thought and behavior express a false consciousness, responding to and contributing to the preservation of a false order of facts. And this false consciousness has become embodied in the prevailing technical apparatus which in turn reproduces it.
Precisely because Galilean science is, in the formation of its concepts, the technic of a specific Lebenswelt , it does not and cannot transcend this Lebenswelt . It remains essentially within the basic experiential framework and within the universe of ends set by this reality.
Dialectical thought understands the critical tension between "is" and "ought" first as an ontological condition, pertaining to the structure of Being itself. However, the recognition of this state of Being its theory intends from the beginning a concrete practice. Seen in the light of a truth which appears in them falsified or denied, the given facts themselves appear false and negative.
Freed from the sublimated form which was the very token of its irreconcilable dreams a form which is the style, the language in which the story is told sexuality turns into a vehicle for the bestsellers of oppression. ... This society turns everything it touches into a potential source of progress and of exploitation, of drudgery and satisfaction, of freedom and of oppression. Sexuality is no exception.
Hypostatized into a ritual pattern, Marxian theory becomes ideology. But its content and function distinguish it from classical forms of ideology; it is not false consciousness, but a rather consciousness of falsehood, a falsehood which is corrected in the context of the higher truth represented by the objective historical interest.
It is generally admitted that the cultural values (humanization) and the existing institutions and policies of society are rarely,if ever, in harmony. This opinion has found expression in the distinction between culture and civilization, according to which "culture" refers to some higher dimension of human autonomy and fulfillment, while "civilization" designates the realm of necessity, of socially necessary work and behavior, where man is not really himself and in his own element but is subject to heteronomy, to external conditions and needs.
This organization of functional discourse is of vital importance; it serves as a vehicle of coordination and subordination. The unified, functional language is an irreconcilably anti-critical and anti-dialectical language. In it, operational and behavioral rationality absorbs the transcendent, negative, oppositional elements of Reason.
By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For "totalitarian" is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.
Dialectical logic undoes the abstractions of formal logic and of transcendental philosophy, but it also denies the concreteness of immediate experience. To the extent to which this experience comes to rest with the things as they appear and happen to be, it is a limited and even false experience. It attains its truth if it has freed itself from the deceptive objectivity which conceals the factors behind the facts that is, if it understands its world as a historical universe, in which the established facts are the work of the historical practice of man.
Inasmuch as art preserves, with the promise of happiness, the memory of the goal that failed, it can enter, as a 'regulative idea,' the desperate struggle for changing the world. Against all fetishism of the productive forces, against the continued enslavement of individuals by the objective conditions (which remain those of domination), art represents the ultimate goal of all revolutions: the freedom and happiness of the individual.
The capabilities (intellectual and material) of contemporary society are immeasurably greater than ever before which means that the scope of society's domination over the individual is immeasurably greater than ever before. Our society distinguishes itself by conquering the centrifugal social forces with Technology rather than Terror, on the dual basis of an overwhelming efficiency and an increasing standard of living.
Institutionalized desublimation thus appears to be an aspect of the "conquest of transcendence" achieved by the one-dimensional society. Just as this society tends to reduce, and even absorb opposition (the qualitative difference!) in the realm of politics and higher culture, so it does in the instinctual sphere. The result is the atrophy of the mental organs for grasping the contradictions and the alternatives and, in the one remaining dimension of technological rationality, the Happy Consciousness comes to prevail.
The way in which a society organizes the life of its members ... is one "project" of realization among others. But once the project has become operative in the basic institutions and relations, it tends to become exclusive and to determine the development of the society as a whole.
Technological rationality reveals its political character as it becomes the great vehicle of better domination, creating a truely totalitarian universe in which society and nature, mind and body are kept in a state of permanent mobilization for the defense of this universe.
One-dimensional thought is systematically promoted by the makers of politics and their purveyors of mass information. Their universe of discourse is populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hyponotic definitions of dictations.
One can delineate the domain of philosophy however one likes, but in its search for truth, philosophy is always concerned with human existence. Authentic philosophizing refuses to remain at the stage of knowledge […]. Care for human existence and its truth makes philosophy a 'practical science' in the deepest sense, and it also leads philosophy—and this is the crucial point—into the concrete distress of human existence.
If mass communications blend together harmoniously, and often unnoticeably, art, politics, religion, and philosophy with commercials, they bring these realms of culture to their common denominator -- the commodity form. The music of the soul is also the music of salesmanship. Exchange value, not truth value, counts.
The soul contains few secrets and longings which cannot be sensibly discussed, analyzed, and polled. Solitude, the very condition which sustained the individual against and beyond his society, has become technically impossible. Logical and linguistic analysis demonstrate that the old metaphysical problems are illusory problems; the quest for the "meaning" of things can be reformulated as the quest for the meaning of words, and the established universe of discourse and behavior can provide perfectly adequate criteria for the answer.
The ontological concept of truth is in the centre of a logic which may serve as a model of pre- technological rationality. It is the rationality of a two-dimensional universe of discourse which, contrasts with the of thought and behavior that develop in the execution of the technological project.
If the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places, if the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer, if the Negro owns a Cadillac, if they all read the same newspaper, then this assimilation indicates not the disappearance of classes, but the extent to which the needs and satisfactions that serve the preservation of the Establishment are shared by the underlying population.
the society which projects and undertakes the technological transformation of nature alters the base of domination by gradually replacing personal dependence (of the slave on the master, the serf on the lord of the manor, the lord on the donor of the fief, etc.) with dependence on the "objective order of things" (on economic laws, the market etc.).
A work of art can be called revolutionary if, by virtue of the aesthetic transformation, it represents, in the exemplary fate of individuals, the prevailing unfreedom and the rebelling forces, thus breaking through the mystified (and petrified) social reality, and opening the horizon of change (liberation).
At the classical origins of philosophic thought, the transcending concepts remained committed to the prevailing separation between intellectual and manual labor to the established society of enslavement. ... Those who bore the brunt of the untrue reality and who, therefore, seemed to be most in need of attaining its subversion were not the concern of philosophy. It abstracted from them and continued to abstract from them.
Reason ... contradicts the established order of men and things on behalf of existing societal forces that reveal the irrational character of this order for "rational" is a mode of thought and action which is geared to reduce ignorance, destruction, brutality, and oppression.
The intellectual is called on the carpet... Don't you conceal something? You talk a language which is suspect. You don't talk like the rest of us, like the man in the street, but rather like a foreigner who does not belong here. We have to cut you down to size, expose your tricks, purge you.
The neo-conservative critics of leftist critics of mass culture ridicule the protest against Bach as background music in the kitchen, against Plato and Hegel, Shelley and Baudelaire, Marx and Freud in the drugstore. Instead, they insist on recognition of the fact that the classics have left the mausoleum and come to life again, that people are just so much more educated. True, but coming to life as classics, they come to life as other than themselves; they are deprived of their antagonistic force, of the estrangement which was the very dimension of their truth.
The philosopher ... subjects experience to his critical judgment, and this contains a value judgment namely, that freedom from toil is preferable to toil, and an intelligent life is preferable to a stupid life. It so happened that philosophy was born with these values. Scientific thought had to break this union of value judgment and analysis, for it became increasingly clear that the philosophic values did not guide the organisation of society.
Many, and I think the determining, constitutive facts remain outside the reach of the operational concept. And by virtue of this limitation this methodological injunction against transitive concepts which might show the facts in their true light and call them by their true name the descriptive analysis of the facts blocks the apprehension of facts and becomes an element of the ideology that sustains the facts. Proclaiming the existing social reality as its own norm, this sociology fortifies in the individuals the "faithless faith" in the reality whose victims they are.
The truth of literature and art has always been granted as one of a 'higher' order, which should not and indeed did not disturb the order of business. What has changed in the contemporary period is the difference between the two orders and their truths. The absorbent power of society depletes the artistic dimension by assimilating its antagonistic contents. In the realm of culture, the new totalitarianism manifests itself precisely in a harmonizing pluralism where the most contradictory works and truths peacefully coexist in indifference.
The people are led to find in the productive apparatus the effective agent of thought and action to which their personal thought and action can and must be surrendered. And in this transfer, the apparatus also assumes the role of a moral agent. Conscience is absolved by reification.
In [Aristotle's] formal logic, thought is organized in a manner very different from that of the Platonic dialogue. In this formal logic, thought is indifferent toward its objects. Whether they are mental or physical, whether they pertain to society or to nature, they become subject to the same general laws of organization, calculation, and conclusion but they do so as fungible signs or symbols, in abstraction from their particular "substance." This general quality (quantitative quality) is the precondition of law and order in logic as well as in society the price of universal control.
Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves. Free choice among a wide variety of goods and services does not signify freedom if these goods and services sustain social controls over a life of toil and fear – that is, if they sustain alienation. And the spontaneous reproduction of superimposed needs by the individual does not establish autonomy; it only testifies to the efficacy of the controls.
Where these reduced (operational - E.W.) concepts govern the analysis of the human reality, individual or social, mental or material, they arrive at a false concreteness - a concreteness isolated from the conditions which constitute its reality. In this context, the operational treatment of the concept assumes a political function. The individual and his behavior are analyzed in a therapeutic sense - adjustment to his society. Thought and expression, theory and practice are to be brought in line with the facts of his existence without leaving room for the conceptual critique of these facts.
Technical progress and more comfortable living permit the systematic inclusion of libidinal components into the realm of commodity production and exchange. But no matter how controlled the mobilization of instinctual energy may be (it sometimes amounts to a scientific management of libido), no matter how much it may serve as a prop for the status quo it is also gratifying to the managed individuals, just as racing the outboard motor, pushing the power lawn mower, and speeding the automobile are fun.
The organism is thus being preconditioned for the spontaneous acceptance of what is offered. Inasmuch as the greater liberty involves a contraction rather than extension and development of instinctual needs, it works for rather than against the status quo of general repression - one might speak of "institutionalized desublimation". The latter appears to be a vital factor in the making of the authoritarian personality of our time.
This mutual dependencies no longer the dialectical relationship between master and servant, which has been broken in the struggle for mutual recognition, but rather a vicious circle which encloses both the master and the servant. Do the technicians rule, or is their rule that of the others, who rely on the technicians as their planners and executors?
The so-called consumer society and the politics of corporate capitalism have created a second nature of man which ties him libidinally and aggressively to the commodity form. The need for possessing, consuming, handling and constantly renewing the gadgets, devices, instruments, engines, offered to and imposed upon the people, for using these wares even at the danger of one’s own destruction, has become a “biological” need.
Art breaks open a dimension inaccessible to other experience, a dimension in which human beings, nature, and things no longer stand under the law of the established reality principle...The encounter with the truth of art happens in the estranging language and images which make perceptible, visible, and audible that which is no longer, or not yet, perceived, said, and heard in everyday life.