Adorno’s critique of Alienation III

Another instance of Adorno’s criticism of Marxist Humanism and interpretations of Marx centered on his philosophical anthropological theory of alienation:
To characterize the change in function of the word “man,” we need only consider two titles which resem­ble one another. At the time of the German November Revolution, there appeared a book by the pacifist Lud­wig Rubiner, Man in the Middle; in the fifties, a book called Man at the Center of the Business Operation. Thanks to its abstractness, the concept lets itself be squirted like grease into the same machinery it once wanted to assail. Its pathos, meanwhile evaporated ,still echoes in the ideology which holds that business, which must be operated by men, exists for their sake. This means that the organization has to take care of its workers so that their productivity will climb. Like Elsie, the happy American advertisement-cow, that phrase about Man, whom the phrase enjoins us to care for, would not be so convincing if the phrase did not rely on a suspicion; the suspicion that, after all, the overpowering conditions of society really were made by men and can be undone by them. The overpowering strength of those relationships, like that of myth, has in it an element of fetishism and mere appearance. Just as the in-itself of the institution is mere appear­ance, a reflection of petrified human states of affairs, so in reality this appearance dominates men to the same degree. This is what debases the appeal to an in­alienable essence of Man which has long been alie­nated. It was not Man who created the institutions but particular men in a particular constellation with nature and with themselves. This constellation forced the institutions on them in the same way that men erected those institutions, without consciousness. All that was formulated. incisively during the Vormarz, particularly by Marx, against Feuerbach’s anthropology and the young Hegelians. Both appearance and necessity are elements of the world of commodities. Cognition fails as soon as it isolates one of these elements. He who accepts the world of commodities as the in-itself, which it pretends to be, is deceived by the mechanisms which Marx analyzed in the chapter on fetishes. He who neglects this in-itself, the value of exchange, as mere illusion, gives in to the ideology of universal humanity. He clings to forms of an immediate togetherness, which are historically irretrievable if in fact they ever existed in any other form. Once capitalism has grown uneasy about theoretical self-assertion, its advocates prefer to use the categories of spontaneous life in order to present what is man-made. They present those cate­gories as if they were valid now and here. The jargon busily splashes beyond all this, perhaps even proud of its historical obliviousness-as if this obliviousness were already the humanly immediate.  The Jargon of Authenticity 61-63

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Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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