Volume 12, Issue 1/2, 2009
Art, Praxis, and Social Transformation
The Hidden Radiance of Negative Dialectics
Through a close reading of Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, in relation to Minima Moralia and to Dialectic of Enlightenment, this paper aims to interpret the tension between, on the one hand, Adorno’s scathing critique of occultism, and on the other, his subtle and elusive suggestions that authentic thought
has certain elective affinities with modes of mind, such as are traditionally found in magical theory and practice. This surprising affinity has implications not only for how to read Adorno’s critical project, but also for how to assess the relevance of spirituality for revolutionary and emancipatory politics. If immanent critique
labors for a re-enchanted world, it may yet be linked to a genuinely spiritual vision of reality.