The Utopian Promise of Adorno’s ‘Open Thinking,’ Fifty Years On

The culture industry of the late-capitalist era has metastasized to such a degree that even resistance is easily co-opted by the market and what passes for criticism circulates in forms pre-packaged for consumption. In an environment saturated in social media and ruled by the tweet, critical reflection can barely survive, and it should hardly surprise us that the brute simplicities of authoritarian rule have gained new currency. It was Adorno who helped to identify this trend. For this reason alone, we cannot afford to ignore his critical legacy. Fifty years after his death, Adorno still resists fashion and category. But his ideas sustain the utopian thought that there might be a right life, after all.

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