By Theodor W. Adorno
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Additional info for Negative Dialectics
What the objects communicate in—instead of each being the atom it becomes in the logic of classification—is the trace of the objects' definition in themselves, which Kant denied and Hegel, against Kant, sought to restore through the subject. To comprehend a thing itself, not just to fit and register it in its system of reference, is nothing but to perceive the individual moment in its immanent connection with others. Such anti-subjectivism lies under the crackling shell of absolute idealism; it 25 NEGATIVE DIALECTICS stirs in the tendency to unseal current issues by resorting to the way they came to be.
The "rational animal" with an appetite for his opponent is already fortunate enough to have a superego and must find a reason. The more completely his actions follow the law of self-preservation, the less can he admit the primacy of that law to himself and to others; if he did, his laboriously attained status of a zoon politikon would lose all credibility. The animal to be devoured must be evil. The sublimation of this anthropological schema extends all the way to epistemology. Idealism—most explicitly Fichte—gives unconscious sway to the 22 INTRODUCTION ideology that the not-I, Vautrui, and finally all that reminds us of nature is inferior, so the unity of the self-preserving thought may devour it without misgivings.
Mobility is of the essence of consciousness; it is no accidental feature. It means a doubled mode of conduct: an inner one, the immanent process which is the properly dialectical one, and a free, unbound one like a stepping out of dialectics. Yet the two are not merely disparate. The unregimented thought has an elective affinity to dialectics, which as criticism of the system recalls what would be outside the system; and the force that liberates the dialectical movement in cognition is the very same that rebels against the system.
Negative Dialectics by Theodor W. Adorno