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"Dialectic of Enlightenment" - on the odyssey of reason

By samalbee at 2021-10-29 • 0 collector • 303 pageviews

"Dialectic of Enlightenment" - on the odyssey of reason

When this important writing was written, the atrocities of the National Socialists were already widely known. In view of this, Horkheimer and Adorno tried to explain why enlightened thinking - DoMyHomework , which promised people liberation from the forces of nature and superstition through their own reason, could turn into cruel barbarism.

They attribute this dialectical transformation of the Enlightenment into new subjugation and dependence to the predominance of an ideal of reason - economics assignment help , whose goal of complete technical mastery of nature also overwhelms human nature (needs, passions).

"What people want to learn from nature is to use it in order to fully dominate it and people. Nothing else applies. Recklessly against itself, the Enlightenment has burnt out the last vestige of its own self-consciousness. Only such thinking is hard enough to break the myths that does violence to itself".

They describe this development particularly impressively where they believe it is already in the offing - in the mythical world of Homer's Odyssey. On his odyssey, Odysseus turns out to be the precursor of bourgeois individuality. For according to Adorno and Horkheimer, he is characterised by the modes of behaviour (self-assertion through self-denial, exchange, cunning, alienation) that are necessary for the rational mastery of nature - philosophy homework help . Odysseus can only assert himself against the mythical powers threatening him by renouncing and suppressing his natural urges. He resists the sirens, whose beguiling song leads every sailor to his doom, by the ruse of being tied to the mast of the ship and plugging the oarsmen's ears with wax.

Unable to act, he passively consumes the song as an inconsequential artistic pleasure, while withholding it from his workers so that they steer the ship - deaf to the temptations - past the island. This scene is informative for the cultural-critical approach of Horkheimer and Adorno in several respects. Civilisation and self-determination as a compulsion to subdue one's own nature (Freuds "Unbehagen in der Kultur").

1. Art as a passively enjoyed consumer product (the theme of the "culture industry").
2. Class antagonism and division of labour between the oarsmen and Ulysses (Marx's critique of alienated relations of production)

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