Theorie der Halbbildung

“At its highest, the philosophical idea of culture [Bildungsidee] sought to form and to preserve natural existence. It meant both the repression of the animalistic in humanity through their adaptation to one another, and the salvage of the natural in opposition to the pressure of the decrepit, man-made order over and against them. The philosophy of Schiller – that Kantian and critic of Kant – was the most pregnant expression of the tension between these moments, while in Hegel’s theory of culture – under the name of externalization [Entäußerung] – just as in late Goethe, it is the desideratum of adaptation, in the midst of their humanism, that triumphs. Where such tension dissolves, adaptation becomes all-triumphant, and its measure becomes the merely existent. It prohibits the positive from erecting itself over and against the given. By the power of the pressure that it exerts on people, adaptation perpetuates the amorphous which it was intended to form – aggression. Just this, according to Freud’s insight, is the source of civilization’s discontents.”

Theodor W. Adorno


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