This week we're going to be changing gears yet again, talking about some thinkers who were known as the founders of critical theory, the original Frankfurt school philosopher's who wind up immigrating from Germany during the Nazi period, and some working in the United States, New York, California, elsewhere, and we will be looking today at a brief text, brief but as you know if you've tried to read it, dense text from Horkheimer and Adorno. And then we'll go on to the next generation really of critical thinkers, sometimes associated even with deconstruction. We'll talk about that next time with Michelle Foucault. So we're moving quickly toward the present of the Horkheimer and the Adorno text was published in 1947, but Foucault is doing his most important work in the 1960s and beyond. So we're getting closer to the present. And some of the issues that they're talking about will be, I think, much more obviously relevant to the contemporary stage then perhaps were some of the issues talked about from our 18th and 19th century thinkers. Horkheimer and Adorno and Fucosi. I entitled this week on the syllabus getting out of totality. Getting out of totality and I thought maybe I should begin with a word about why I've used that header, that title. Getting out of totality refers to the ways in which Horkheimer and Adorno and the thinkers associated with their school saw a system of enlightenment that had become ever tighter in its organization, more global in its reach, and more powerful in its ability to control people. They saw this really nefarious globalization as a product of the Enlightenment. They saw modernity and Enlightenment joining hands to create a new universal myth that entrapped us with it's appeal while controlling us and diminishing our freedom at every step. Had a different take on some of those same issues, but he too saw the growth of a kind of global accumulation of power. A global accumulation of power from which it was increasingly difficult to escape. One can even say that the attempts to escape that power fed the oppressive power itself. And that really is the theme of these thinkers. That there, ironically, if I can put it that way, are attempts at liberation wind up being steps in our own oppression. Our attempts at liberation wind up being steps in our own oppression. I wanna just start off by situating a in relation to some of the other theorists you've been hearing about and philosophical traditions you know about, and that for me is to emphasize that Foucault is a Nietzschean thinker, and Nietzsche was for Foucault, an important instrument for getting out of historicism and getting out of a mode of thinking that the generation before his had developed as an extension of Hegelian Marxism So these were thinkers who really emphasized how the formation of the self was deeply formed by or conditioned by temporal dimensions, and then by understanding temporal dimensions, one had a confrontation either with politics or with authenticity, with freedom or with struggle. That was the generation that preceded. So Horkheimer and Adorno, writing in the Nazi period, what problem are they trying to address? What issue are they trying to explain? They come out of the Hegelian Marxist tradition, that is one where the path of reason, the path of the master slave dialectic which we spoke about earlier on in the semester. It accelerates, becomes ever more prominent but for Horkhiemer and Adorno, the dialectic that Marx saw as the engine of eventual freedom. The dialectic actually accelerates our oppression. How so? Well, before we get to the solution or the mechanism, I should say one more word about the problem they see. Remember, Marx, in the communist manifesto, talked about how the accumulation of wealth would also result in the accumulation of the power of the proletariat, the power of the lower classes, to free themselves from the tyranny of capitalists wealth accumulation. And so, according to Marx and Engels as we became, as the proletariat became more aware of its oppression they would turn against the system that created that oppression. What Adorno and Horkheimer are trying to understand is how, when the oppression gets even more visible, as it does with the growth of fascism, how, when the oppression gets even more visible, masses of people don't rebel against the oppression? In other words, they're trying to understand the attractions of fascism and nazism. They are trying to understand why the working classes don't rebel against the owners of capital. Why they don't rebel against the massive corporations or the political parties that feed them. Horkheimer and Adorno are trying to understand why we participate in our own control or oppression, why we give power to the things that turn us into less free and less capable human beings. They are interested in the persistence of domination. Despite the possibilities for freedom. And they trace this problem, the persistence of domination back to the enlightenment, as you see in the first sentence of the reading for this week. They identify enlightenment as the problem, and I'll just remind you of that sentence, read it to you now. Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear, and I've highlighted that in this life, liberating human beings from fears, and installing them as masters. Yet the holy enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity. Enlightenment's program was the disenchantment of the world. I wanna just focus on a couple of pieces of that text. I'll leave the biographies of the thinkers, and things like that for you to find out yourself with your computers, but I wanna focus on the text here of Horkheimer and Adorno. Enlightenment focused on the liberated human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Remember that master/slave dialectic is being echoed here liberating human beings from fear but in fact what happens in enlightenment is they create conditions for a new kind of fear. And then this sentence, the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity, it's a great phrase, that is in the very triumph of technology of progress of industry, of global reach of our tools. We have created the conditions for calamity and you can see this, in Nazism, they see this in In the weapons of mass destruction we can point today to the environmental degradation or other global warming and other forms of calamity, triumphant calamity, calamity that is a result of the very progress that we have been so proud of. For Adorno and Horkheimer, enlightenment is a myth. Enlightenment starts out as a way of getting rid of myth, remember? Voltaire says we must squash all this nonsense, the infamy, get rid of it. Adorno and Horkheimer say enlightenments program becomes so self-fulfilling, self-justifying, it is itself a myth and a myth that works against human beings and comes to dominate us. Domination is a key term for Horkehimer and Adorno and I want you to think about what they mean by that, this is really just from the second page of the reading. They link technology and domination. Here's what they say. Technology is the essence of this knowledge, that is, enlightenment knowledge. It aims to produce neither concepts nor images, nor the joy of understanding, but method, exploitation of the labor of others. What human beings, they write, seek to learn from nature is how to use it to dominate wholly both it and other human beings. Nothing else counts. This is a phrase that they could have said again and again. Nothing else counts. For Horkheimer and Adorno, knowledge comes to mean domination of the world. It sets up the knower in a position to dominate other things. And as knowledge gets equated to domination, all other forms of understanding are pushed aside. Hence, one of the roots of the problem of how our methods of understanding come to actually oppress us. What they see in this process is that quantification comes to be the only framework that counts as knowledge. In other words, in the 19th century, you might have a narrative, you might have a philosophical explanation, you might have other modes of qualitative experiments or qualitative investigations counting as knowledge. By the middle of the 20th century Horkheimer and Adorno say that the only thing that really counts is knowledge. The only thing that really will count as science is knowledge that can be quantified. Knowledge that results in the domination of the object studied. That's key for them, that we come to think understanding is grasping and dominating something. And this doubles back against us. It's doubled back against us because it sets up the knower, what they call the subject on pages five and six of the text, it sets up the knower as an agent who shows his or her power. And it's usually a man. Shows his or her power through control of others. Here is Horkheimer and Adorno, man's likeness to God consists in sovereignty over existence, in lordly gaze, in the command. So what they're trying to show here is enlightenment, a picture's the human being in his or her full capacity, as someone who comes to dominate the world through understanding. But like the master in the master/slave dialectic, when you come to dominate the world you actually destroy the conditions of your own understanding.