“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, April 23, 2009


J'ai sodomisé un louveteau. Avec le manche d'un marteau - Sexy Sushi

In a famous letter to Benjamin, rejecting the first version of his Baudelaire essay, Adorno wrote that, in the essay, “a power of illumination is almost superstitiously attributed to material enumeration”. Adorno went on to explain what he meant: "The empirical affects the blank of theory… The theological motive, to name things by their name, is transformed into the awestruck representation of simple facticity. If one wanted to put this drastically, one could say that the work had settled in the crossroads of magic and positivism (Kreuzweg von Magie und Positivismus). This place is under the spell of a witch (verhext). Only theory can break that enchantment.” (from Von Wussow, 51)

Adorno is dealing out a hightoned diss to his former maitre. However, this is a backhanded methodology devoutly to be wished by all true illuminati and Red Riding hood fans. In the mashup of Michelet's the Sorceress and Das Kapital, this is what you get, baby! Any greenie can recite the sociologist’s rosary: correlation is not causation. But that greenie gets no farther when asked the two logically succeeding questions: what, then, is causation? And what is correlation?

In fact, causation has to be correlation – plus something else. And as for what correlation is… Perhaps the answer to that only dawns on the person who is dealing with correlations dense enough to allow for crossroads. For it is from the crossroads that magic and positivism both take on a shape, take on a conceptual form, signal to each other.

And who are these masters of the crossroads? Benjamin, Toussaint L’ouverture. Atibon Legba. Who appears as a stooped old man, a clever peasant, a holder of a secret degree in asinine wisdom.

Azima Legba
Ouvri barrier po’ moin

One feels this crossroads in Les mots et les choses. It seems to follow Foucault through the book, even as Foucault’s description of the great tradition with its unities – the age, the ‘occidental culture” - seems curiously like the ethnography of Kafka’s Castle bureaucracy. These pulls to one side of the crossroads or another are particularly powerful in the structure and origin of the human sciences which he proposes in Chapter 10, with the erection of one threefold structure – the science of life, the science of economics, the science of language - covering the field of the positive sciences, and the science of man existing, as it were, in the margins and interstices – at the crossroads – on each level.


catmint said...

"The empirical affects the blank of theory… The theological motive, to name things by their name, is transformed into the awestruck representation of simple facticity"

had Adorno studied the Air Loom Gang he would have been able to describe the above as the "lobster cracking" approach to social criticism

or not

roger said...

I fear the effects of Adorno studying the Air Loom gang!

He was not a graphix novel kind of guy. Neil Gaiman, however, understood them like an x ray understands a bone.