By Theodor W. Adorno
Theodor Adorno was once no stranger to controversy. within the Jargon of Authenticity he provides complete expression to his hostility to the language hired through sure existentialist thinkers akin to Martin Heidegger. together with his ordinary alertness to the makes use of and abuses of language, he calls into query the jargon, or 'aura', as his colleague Walter Benjamin defined it, which clouded existentialists' proposal. He argued that its use undermined the very message for which means and liberation that it sought to make actual. furthermore, such language - claiming to deal with the problem of freedom - signally didn't show the shortcoming of freedom inherent within the capitalist context during which it was once written. as an alternative, in addition to the jargon of the ads jingle, it attributed price to the pride of fast hope. Alerting his readers to the relationship among ideology and language, Adorno's frank and open problem to directness, and the avoidance of language that 'gives itself over both to the industry, to balderdash, or to the predominating vulgarity', is as well timed at the present time because it ever has been.
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Additional info for The Jargon of Authenticity
The hero of Mahagonny joined the wailing about a world in which there is nothing to hold on to. In Heidegger, as well as in the Brecht of the didactic plays, this is followed by the proclamation of compulsory order as salva tion. The lack of something to hold on to is the mirror reflection of its opposite, of unfreedom. Only because mankind failed to define itself did it grope for determination through something else : some thing that was safely out of the reach of the dialectical movement. The anthropological condition of so-called human emptiness, which for the sake of contrast the authentics are accustomed to daub out as an unhappy, but inevitable, consequence of the demystified world, could be changed.
I37· 34 stantly feel threatened by what sustains them. They feel threatened without ever being able in specific in stances to concretize this threat from the whole of society . But in shelteredness the declassed person has his clumsy triumph-the declassed man who knows what he can get away with. O n the one hand he has nothing to lose; on the other hand, t�e overadminis trated world of today still resp�cts the compromise structure of bourgeois society, to the extent that that society-in its own interest-stops short before the ultimate, the liquidation of its members, stops short because, in the massive plans of its industry, it has the means of delay at its disposal.
But at the same time communicative disorder disguises itself in the statement. Someone speaks and, thanks to the elevated term "statement," what he says is to be the sign of truth-as if men could not become caught up in untruth, as if they could not suffer martyrdom for plain nonsense. Prior to all content this shift in� diets statement as soon as it wants to be such; it charges statement with being a lie. The listener is su� posed to gain something from the statement because of its subjective reliability.