Adorno on Pleasure: The Critique of Psychoanalysis

Theodor Adorno, the Arch-curmudgeon of the Frankfurt School of Critical theory, devotes a brief but substantial section of his Minima Moralia to a …

Adorno on Pleasure: The Critique of Psychoanalysis

———- A mix of critique and psychoanalysis.

Interestingly enough, I finally read Walter Benjamin’s “art in the age of mechanical reproduction”. I never realized that it was a short little essay. Lol. In my undergrad I remember reading one of Benjamin’s books for class and it was a thick ass book. So I thought this famous little essay would be a monster. But it’s really tiny.

It’s interesting also reading this post about Adorno and psychoanalysis in comparison to Benjamin’s essay.

Benjamin’s essay didn’t really impress me very much. Somehow from what I remember in my undergraduate class which was about modernity and the development of intentional city space, I thought this famous little essay would be packed with meaningful significance.

Instead I saw an author who’s whining because people are not conforming with his enlightenment view of art.

In reading the tiny essay, I got the distinct feeling of what now I can really classify as “enlightenment” review of the world, which is to say, that coming out of the 19th century, and the imposition of industrialization, the people that ended up in these densely packed cities, and indeed after a world war, look back to some sort of yesteryear of infinite promise that has been thwarted by modern industrialization.

And then I think back, or within, my own generation, and the world that we bring for the next generation, like the millennials or generation Z, and I can’t help but notice that there seems to be this incessant resistance to see what humanity actually is. It seems like part of humanity is to hang onto its childhood, grow up a little bit, find that the world sucks, think back to “the good old days”, and then just struggle every day to make the world how it should’ve been.

So this tendency for humanity I would say is part of indeed of how humanity is; which is to say, that this is what humanity does.

But then also I think what it does is it just is. Humanity literally just does what it likes to do, whatever that is. And then the world manifests in such a way that is different than it was noticeably 20 or 30 years ago. It appears as though every 20 or 30 years a noticeable difference arises with the human ability to notice.

Further, I don’t believe that human beings as a whole group are necessarily heading in any direction. It appears to me as if what human beings do also is think that they move towards something intentionally.

Wow this may happen on a small scale individually, I think I’d even go far to say that, in a very Jordan Peterson ask kind of manner, people are always looking toward the telos, Out toward the horizon, and never paying much attention to what’s going on right in front of them. It seems human beings, at least as a group, avoid the Local, or I should say, the way that human beings conceive the local it’s typically through already having gone out to the horizon and then attempting to look back. I think this is just what human beings do, and that it is not that human beings are really changing anything by doing this. It’s more that this is how human beings manifest themselves as a being in the universe.

Innoway I feel that this is wet Adorno is saying through the comment upon psychoanalysis. He’s really saying that the pleasure principle and reason are one in the same. Even though Adorno would have it appear as some sort of critique of modern industrial capitalism, I think he is saying more about what humans actually do in so much as this is what we are. 



I think there’s something to say also about The mortality of human beings 100+ years ago compared to now, the ability to see and conceptualize, and that pretty much the development of cities at least in America, was by young people. It seems that the capitalism that has been left to us for modernity is a kind of childish dream. It was not so much that they were all these mature people coming to the cities to do shit, as much as there was an abundance of young inexperienced people who came to the cities to try and get work because they were sick of farming. And then they got together and started doing all these drugs, like cocaine and caffeine and alcohol and tobacco and heroin, and started thinking about how great they are. Fueled by these intoxicants which really flame self-centeredness and Narcissist self righteousness, here is massive amounts of people who are being left a traditional culture of dog eat Dog competition. And they’re all getting high all the time with each other in a densely packed culture.

It’s no wonder that the world is so fucked up when we look back to the lineage of tradition and think that they had such wise things to say. Because in actuality they were just a bunch of kids separated from their families, raising families, being pissed off and frustrated, developing ways to put food in their mouth’s not through actually doing physical labor where they have to engage with the actual universe, but on the contrary, sitting around and trying to do the best they can to do nothing but think about things in order for them to justify why they’re sitting around getting buzzed and thinking about things.

lol

I think to move forward, we should begin to maybe look at this kind of tradition that we think was so great, populated by people who were so smart.

Maybe when we look back to these wonderful essays and ideas about what humanity is and what is not and what it should be, maybe we would be better equipped to understand what was going on when we see that they were basically having growing pains from adolescence.





 

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Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

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