What can oppose the decline of the west is not a resurrected culture but the utopia that is silently contained in the image of its decline.
The darkening of the world makes the irrationality of art rational: radically darkened art.
Art is the social antithesis of society, not directly deducible from it.
Philosophy, which once seemed outmoded, remains alive because the moment of its realization was missed. The summary judgement that it had merely interpreted the world is itself crippled by resignation before reality, and becomes a defeatism of reason after the transformation of the world failed. It guarantees no place from which theory as such could be concretely convicted of the anachronism, which then as now it is suspected of. Perhaps the interpretation which promised the transition did not suffice. The moment on which the critique of theory depended is not to be prolonged theoretically. Praxis, delayed for the foreseeable future, is no longer the court of appeals against self-satisfied speculation, but for the most part the pretext under which executives strangulate that critical thought as idle which a transforming praxis most needs. After philosophy broke with the promise that it would be one with reality or at least struck just before the hour of its production, it has been compelled to ruthlessly criticize itself.
Even at that time the hope of leaving behind messages in bottles on the flood of barbarism bursting on Europe was an amiable illusion: the desperate letters stuck in the mud of the spirit of rejuvenesence and were worked up by a band of Noble Human-Beings and other riff-raff into highly artistic but inexpensive wall-adornments. Only since then has progress in communications really got into its stride. Who, in the end, is to take it amiss if even the freest of free spirits no longer write for an imaginary posterity, more trusting, if possible, than even their contemporaries, but only for the dead God?
Everywhere bourgeois society insists on the exertion of will; only love is supposed to be involuntary, pure immediacy of feeling. In its longing for this, which means a dispensation from work, the bourgeois idea of love transcends bourgeois society.
The utopia of knowledge would be to open up the non-conceptual with concepts, without making it their equal.
But the castration of perception by a court of control that denies it any anticipatory desire, forces it thereby into a pattern of helplessly reiterating what is already known.
It would be rash […] to assume that the dwindling of family authority in present society automatically constitutes an element of progress and liberation. On the one hand, the individual’s most productive powers flourish in a living and direct confrontation with his family, and these powers are now deprived of their target, so to speak; on the other hand, the immediately palpable domination of the individual by society, without any intermediary, is so profound that in a deeper layer of its consciousness, the child growing up ‘authorityless’ is probably even more fearful than it ever was in the good old days of the Oedipus complex. It is precisely this side of the situation that is often overlooked by progressive educators.
The first and only principle of sexual ethics: the accuser is always in the wrong.
Death is imposed only on creatures, not their creations, and has therefore always appeared in art in a broken form: as allegory.
He who stands aloof runs the risk of believing himself better than others and misusing his critique of society as an ideology for his private interest.
Quality is decided by the depth at which the work incorporates the alternatives within itself, and so masters them.
In the age of the individual's liquidation, the question of individuality must be raised anew.
Anti-Semitism is the rumour about the Jews.
He who matures early lives in anticipation.
The specific is not exclusive: it lacks the aspiration to totality.
Because thought has by now been perverted into the solving of assigned problems, even what is not assigned is processed like a problem.
A pencil and rubber are of more use to thought than a battalion of assistants. To happiness the same applies as to truth: one does not have it, but is in it.
The good man is he who rules himself as he does his own property: his autonomous being is modelled on material power.