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- preservation easy'. 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'.
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Publication information: Book title: Mapping Ideology. Contributors: Slavoj Žižek - Editor. Publisher: Verso. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 64.