Saturday, September 10, 2016

"The Hunger for Books Providing a Critique of Capitalism Continues"

"I now realise that customised culture, which is very nearly ubiquitous today, is a mutation of what Adorno and Horkheimer wrote about in their classic Frankfurt School text Dialectic of Enlightenment seven decades ago. Their contention was that the freedom to choose, which was the great boast of the advanced capitalist societies in the west, was chimerical. Not only do we have the freedom to choose what was always the same, but, arguably, human personality had been so corrupted by false consciousness that there is hardly anything worth the name any more. 'Personality,' they wrote, 'scarcely signifies anything more than shining white teeth and freedom from body odour and emotions.' Humans had been transformed into desirable, readily exchangeable commodities, and all that was left to choose was the option of knowing that one was being manipulated. 'The triumph of advertising in the culture industry is that consumers feel compelled to buy and use its products even though they see through them.' The Frankfurt School is relevant to us now because such critiques of society are even more true now today than when those words were written."

Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian wishes to revive the Frankfurt School philosophers.

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