Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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"Time and again, when questioned or interviewed, one is asked about one's hobbies. When the illustrated weeklies report on the life of one of those giants of the culture industry, they rarely forego the opportunity to report, with varying degrees of intimacy, on the hobbies of the person in question. I am shocked by the question when I come up against it. I have no hobby. Not that I am the kind of workaholic who is incapable of doing anything with his time but applying himself industriously to his task. But as far as my activities beyond the bounds of my recognized profession are concerned, I take them all, without exception, very seriously. So much so, that I should be horrified by the very idea that they had anything to do with hobbies - preoccupations with which I had become mindlessly infatuated merely in order to kill the time - had I not become hardened by experience to such examples of this now widespread, barbarous mentality." - Theodor Adorno, "Free Time"

"Those influenced by Adorno and Horkheimer came to believe that no political response was possible to a regime of rational and enlightened domination - a totally administered society. Instead they sought to avoid personal incorporation into an industrialized culture through the 'aesthetic philosophical intensification of subjectivity'. Those who believe that 'Enlightenment is totalitarianism' seek consolation in a 'private' life of detailed and energetic discrimination. Adorno's Californian exile, with its air-conditioning, classical music and homesickness, provides a romanticized model for this disastrous retreat into the 'aesthetic' sphere. The rigorous distinction between a 'private' life of culture and refinement and a 'public' life of compromises conducted in an ironic style disguises the extent to which such a form of life embodies total subordination to the logic of corporate production. In such cases, common in modern business, the exercise of independent intelligence provides a restorative holiday from 'the real world' of work. It does not engage critically with it. The discerning, civilized self survives as a strictly recreational identity. The old ideal of intellectual and artistic autonomy degenerates into a lifestyle, a set of choices about one's leisure activities, a form of 'power-protected inwardness'." - Dan Hind, The Threat to Reason

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