Minima Moralia, No. 104

MINIMA MORALIA: Reflections from the damaged life. By THEODOR ADORNO

PART THREE: 1946-1947. Aphorism #104: Golden Gate.

Translated by Dennis Redmond

104

Golden Gate [in English]. – What dawns on those who are embarrassed or spurned, illuminates as harshly as the violent pain which wracks the body. They recognize, that in the innermost core of deluded love, which knows nothing of this and may know nothing, lives the demand of what is undeluded. They have been wronged; they derive their claim of justice from this and must at the same time reject it, for what they wish, can only come out of freedom. In such urgent necessity, those who are rejected become human beings. Just as love inalienably betrays the generality to the particular, by which alone the generality is honored, so too does the generality now turn fatally against love, as the autonomy of those who are nearest. Precisely the rejection, by which the generality asserts itself, appears to the individual [Individuum] as being excluded from the generality; whoever loses love, feels deserted by all, which is why they despise consolation. In the senselessness of the withdrawal they come to feel what is untrue of all merely individual fulfillment. Thereby however they awaken to the paradoxical consciousness of the generality: of the inalienable and unimpeachable human right, to be loved by the beloved. With their petition, founded on no title or claim, they appeal to an unknown court, which out of mercy accords to them what belongs to them and yet does not belong to them. The secret of justice in love is the sublation of rights, to which love points with speechless gestures. “So must love, deceived / silly yet everywhere be”. [lines by Hölderlin from Tränen, “Tears”]

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