Fall 1945 • Vol. VII No. 4 Speculation |

Theses upon Art and Religion Today

I. The lost unity between art and religion, be it regarded as wholesome or as hampering, cannot be regained at will. This unity was not a matter of purposeful cooperation, but resulted from the whole objective structure of society during certain phases of history, so the break is objectively conditioned and irreversible. Unity of art and religion is not simply due to subjective convictions and decisions but to the underlying social reality and its objective trend. Such a unity exists, in principle, only in non-individualistic, hierarchical, closed societies — even in Greek antiquity it did not prevail during those phases when the individual had emancipated himself economically and politically. The present crisis involving individuality and the collectivistic tendencies in our society does not justify any retrogression of art to a stage which comes earlier than the individualistic era, any attempt to subject art arbitrarily once more to any bonds of a religious nature. Such a rever

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The son of an opera singer, T.W. Adorno (1903-69) was a sociologist, philosopher, and musicologist. In 1924, he received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Frankfurt and went on to become a renowned essayist. In addition to training as a concert pianist, he was a leading member of the Frankfurt School of critical theory and is considered to be one of the foremost thinkers on aesthetics and philosophy of the twentieth century.

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