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Minima Moralia: Reflections On A Damaged Life by Theodor Adorno
May 1, 2023
Minima Moralia is my first introduction to the writing and brain of Theodor Adorno. I, of course, heard of the Frankfurt School but never read works by its writers/thinkers - except for Walter Benjamin, who I adore. And technically, he knew these fellows but wasn't a "member." This book is the ultimate bathtub book. It took me at least ten bath sessions and a few long bus rides till I finished this book.
153 segments stand alone as miniature essays on subject matters that deal with the political system, aesthetics, literature, music, and Hitler. Since he wrote this book during the war years and as an exile in California, one gets a very precise snapshot of what it's like for an intellectual to witness such a devastating loss—the end of civilization or the entrance of hell. Minima Moralia would be a proper companion to Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle. Both writers are very different, but the writing format is similar. The prose is very dense, and often I had to re-read passages. Adorno's text had countless cultural references -from classical works to the pop culture of Germany/U.S.A/Europe when he wrote this work. The book analyzes the system that made things go wrong but doesn't have an answer to the problem. What comes through is an intelligent writer who is bitter, angry, and critical of the world as it lays out before him.
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