through mirrors.' In Borges's version this initial accord is broken by an
unexplained onslaught of nature, temporarily repulsed by humankind, but destined to triumph in the end: 'a day will come when the
magic spell will be shaken off, and this time the animals 'will not be
defeated'. Adorno does not deny the possibility of such a calamitous
conclusion to history: the 'clatter of weapons' from 'the depths of
mirrors', which some believe will precede the final invasion, will
undoubtedly sound, to our late-twentieth-century ears, like a four-
minute nuclear warning. But Adorno does contest that such a terminus
is inevitable. Our historical dilemma consists in the fact that the
essential material preconditions for a reconciliation between human
beings, and between humanity and nature, could only have been
installed by a history of domination and self-coercion which has now
built up an almost unstoppable momentum. As Adorno writes in Negative Dialectics 'since self-preservation has been precarious and
difficult for eons, the power of its instrument, the ego drives, remains
all but irresistible even after technology has virtually made self-
46 To pine for a prelapsarian harmony, in the face of
this dilemma, is merely to fall resignedly into conservative illusion.
Nevertheless, Borges's evocation of a state of peaceful interchange
between the human and the mirror worlds provides a fitting image for
that affinity without identity, and difference without domination --
rather than coercive unity -- which Adorno believes to be implied by the
pledge that there should be 'no contradiction, no antagonism'.
See "'Structuralism and Post-structuralism: An Interview with Michel Foucault'", Telos 55, Spring 1983, p. 200; and "'Un Cours Inédit'", Magazine Littéraire, 207, May 1984.
Jean-François Lyotard, "'Presentations'", in
Alan Montefiore, ed., Philosophy in
France Today, Cambridge 1983, pp. 201-4.
Jacques Derrida, La Vérité en Peinture, Paris 1978, pp. 200-09.
Axel Honneth, Kritik der Macht, Frankfurt 1982; Albrecht Wellmer, Zur Dialektik
von Moderne und Postmoderne, Frankfurt 1985, Jürgen Habermas, Der philosophische
Diskurs der Moderne, Frankfurt 1985.
See, for example, Rainer Nägele, "'The Scene of the Other: Theodor W. Adorno's
Negative Dialectic in the Context of Post-structuralism'", Boundary 2, Fall--Winter 1982-83; Martin Jay, Adorno, London 1984, pp. 21-2; and, above all, Michael Ryan, Marxism and Deconstruction, Baltimore, MD 1982, pp. 73-81.
Jorge Luis Borges, "'The Fauna of Mirrors'", in The Book of Imaginary Beings, Harmondsworth 1974, pp. 67-8.
Jean-François Lyotard, "'Contribution des Tableaux de Jacques Monory'", in
et al., Figurations 1960/1973, Paris 1973, pp. 155-6.
Michel Foucault, Histoire de la Folie à l'Age Classique, collection TEL edn, Paris 1976,
G. W. F. Hegel, The Difference Between Fichte's and Schelling's Systems of Philosophy, Albany, NY 1977, p. 112.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Mapping Ideology.
Contributors: Slavoj Žižek - Editor.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1994.
Page number: 64.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.