For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life

by Adorno, Theodor (1991)

Key Passage

Under a priori saleability the living has made itself, as something living, a thing, equipment. The ego consciously takes the whole man into its service as a piece of apparatus. In this re-organization the ego as business manager delegates so much of itself to the ego as business-mechanism, that it becomes quite abstract, a mere reference-point: self-preservation forfeits its self. Character traits, from genuine kindness to the hysterical fit of rage, become capable of manipulation, until they coincide exactly with the demands of a given situation. With their mobilization they change. All that is left are the light, rigid, empty husks of emotions, matter transportable at will, devoid of anything personal. They are no longer the subject; rather, the subject responds to them as to his internal object. In their unbounded docility towards the ego they are at the same time estranged from it: being wholIy passive they nourish it no longer. This is the social pathogenesis of schizophrenia. (p.230)


Wages, Social Class, Working Class, Individuality, Consciousness, Function, Value, Adorno


Adorno Citations

Links to Reference


Jephcott, E. F.



How to contribute.