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We will read & discuss "Dialectic of Enlightenment" by M. Horkheimer and T.W. Adorno.

This Meetup is specifically for people with a critical view of contemporary art and culture and with a serious interest in critical discourse and theory. Despite having been written as early as 1947 -long before the information revolution and the emergence of the internet- the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' is still one of the most lucid and radical -if not unsurpassed- analyses of culture, which is still acutely relevant for recent/21st century developments. Thus the purpose of this Meetup is not only to gain an in-depth understanding of the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' and of core ideas of the Frankfurt School, but TO GAIN AND TO PROMOTE A CLEAR CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OUR OWN TIME.

In our discussions we will continuously seek to relate Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis to current events in art, culture, education and politics, such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Venice Biennale, the recent rise in far-right fascism and other such events and developments shaped by the contemporary Culture Industry.

A spin-off of these 'Critical Thinking' meetings (we previously read 'The Culture Industry' by Adorno) are fortnightly gatherings (not advertised publicly) in which we explore examples of art made before the 1970s / before artists began to completely surrender their self-determination, freedom and autonomy to the Culture Industry's own (art-external) forces, mechanisms and standards.

What to bring: your copy of the book "Dialectic of Enlightenment", by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno (Stanford University Press, translation by E. Jephcott) and some money for the hire of the room (between £15 and £20 which we divide between attendees).

from the book cover:
"Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism."Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization. Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book."

Upcoming events (5+)

CRITICAL THINKING 2: DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT, by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno

This Meetup is specifically for people with a critical view of contemporary art and culture and with a serious interest in critical discourse and theory. Despite having been written as early as 1947 -long before the information revolution and the emergence of the internet- the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' is still one of the most lucid and radical -if not unsurpassed- analyses of culture, which grasps and explains even recent/21st century developments. Thus the purpose of this Meetup is not only to gain an in-depth understanding of the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' and of core ideas of the Frankfurt School, but TO GAIN AND TO PROMOTE A CLEAR CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OUR OWN TIME. In our discussions we will continuously seek to relate Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis to current events in art, culture, education and politics, such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Venice Biennale, the recent rise in far-right fascism and other such events and developments shaped by the contemporary Culture Industry. A spin-off of these 'Critical Thinking' meetings (we previously read 'The Culture Industry' by Adorno) are fortnightly gatherings (not advertised publicly) in which we explore examples of art made before the 1970s / before artists began to completely surrender their self-determination, freedom and autonomy to the Culture Industry's own (art-external) forces, mechanisms and standards. What to bring: your copy of the book "Dialectic of Enlightenment", by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno (Stanford University Press, translation by E. Jephcott) and some money for the hire of the room (between £15 and £20 which we divide between attendees).

CRITICAL THINKING 2: DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT, by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno

This Meetup is specifically for people with a critical view of contemporary art and culture and with a serious interest in critical discourse and theory. Despite having been written as early as 1947 -long before the information revolution and the emergence of the internet- the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' is still one of the most lucid and radical -if not unsurpassed- analyses of culture, which grasps and explains even recent/21st century developments. Thus the purpose of this Meetup is not only to gain an in-depth understanding of the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' and of core ideas of the Frankfurt School, but TO GAIN AND TO PROMOTE A CLEAR CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OUR OWN TIME. In our discussions we will continuously seek to relate Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis to current events in art, culture, education and politics, such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Venice Biennale, the recent rise in far-right fascism and other such events and developments shaped by the contemporary Culture Industry. A spin-off of these 'Critical Thinking' meetings (we previously read 'The Culture Industry' by Adorno) are fortnightly gatherings (not advertised publicly) in which we explore examples of art made before the 1970s / before artists began to completely surrender their self-determination, freedom and autonomy to the Culture Industry's own (art-external) forces, mechanisms and standards. What to bring: your copy of the book "Dialectic of Enlightenment", by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno (Stanford University Press, translation by E. Jephcott) and some money for the hire of the room (between £15 and £20 which we divide between attendees).

CRITICAL THINKING 2: DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT, by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno

This Meetup is specifically for people with a critical view of contemporary art and culture and with a serious interest in critical discourse and theory. Despite having been written as early as 1947 -long before the information revolution and the emergence of the internet- the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' is still one of the most lucid and radical -if not unsurpassed- analyses of culture, which grasps and explains even recent/21st century developments. Thus the purpose of this Meetup is not only to gain an in-depth understanding of the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' and of core ideas of the Frankfurt School, but TO GAIN AND TO PROMOTE A CLEAR CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OUR OWN TIME. In our discussions we will continuously seek to relate Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis to current events in art, culture, education and politics, such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Venice Biennale, the recent rise in far-right fascism and other such events and developments shaped by the contemporary Culture Industry. A spin-off of these 'Critical Thinking' meetings (we previously read 'The Culture Industry' by Adorno) are fortnightly gatherings (not advertised publicly) in which we explore examples of art made before the 1970s / before artists began to completely surrender their self-determination, freedom and autonomy to the Culture Industry's own (art-external) forces, mechanisms and standards. What to bring: your copy of the book "Dialectic of Enlightenment", by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno (Stanford University Press, translation by E. Jephcott) and some money for the hire of the room (between £15 and £20 which we divide between attendees).

CRITICAL THINKING 2: DIALECTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT, by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno

This Meetup is specifically for people with a critical view of contemporary art and culture and with a serious interest in critical discourse and theory. Despite having been written as early as 1947 -long before the information revolution and the emergence of the internet- the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' is still one of the most lucid and radical -if not unsurpassed- analyses of culture, which grasps and explains even recent/21st century developments. Thus the purpose of this Meetup is not only to gain an in-depth understanding of the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' and of core ideas of the Frankfurt School, but TO GAIN AND TO PROMOTE A CLEAR CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OUR OWN TIME. In our discussions we will continuously seek to relate Horkheimer's and Adorno's analysis to current events in art, culture, education and politics, such as the Edinburgh Festival, the Venice Biennale, the recent rise in far-right fascism and other such events and developments shaped by the contemporary Culture Industry. A spin-off of these 'Critical Thinking' meetings (we previously read 'The Culture Industry' by Adorno) are fortnightly gatherings (not advertised publicly) in which we explore examples of art made before the 1970s / before artists began to completely surrender their self-determination, freedom and autonomy to the Culture Industry's own (art-external) forces, mechanisms and standards. What to bring: your copy of the book "Dialectic of Enlightenment", by M. Horkheimer & T. W. Adorno (Stanford University Press, translation by E. Jephcott) and some money for the hire of the room (between £15 and £20 which we divide between attendees).

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