And now the reader shall judge whether I had not reason to cast aside the so-called Five orders of the Renaissance architects, with their volutes and fillets, and to tell him that there were only two real orders, and that there could never be more. For now we find that these two great and real orders are representative of the two great influences which must for ever divide the heart of man: the one of Lawful Discipline, with its perfection and order, but its danger of degeneracy into Formalism; the other of Lawful Freedom, with its vigor and variety, but its danger of degeneracy into Licentiousness.
In re/ my last post, Norman finds Heidegger speaking to him more than I find Heidegger speaking to me – but that just might be the malaised mood I’ve been in for a while now: the “dictations” just aren’t coming thru like they should be.
On the other hand, Bob quite rightly reminds me of a passage where Adorno claims that the German language has what he calls "a special elective affinity to philosophy and indeed to its speculative moment." Indeed – but it’s worth considering the passage as a whole, just to note how TA scrupulously takes the opportunity to distinguish what he’s saying from Heidegger’s stance towards German as the language of Being, and to argue (yet again) against paraphrase. Here from “On the Question ‘What is German?” with my comments interspersed – Adorno writes, in this 1965 radio talk, specifically about his decision to return to Germany after the war:
The decision to return to Germany was hardly motivated simply by a subjective need, or homesickness, as little as I deny having had such sentiments. An objective factor also made itself felt. It is the language. Not only because one can never express one’s intention so exactly, with all the nuances and the rhythm of the train of thought in the newly acquired as in one’s own. Rather, the German language also apparently [note qualification] has a special elective affinity with philosophy and particularly with its speculative element that in the West is so easily suspected of being dangerously unclear, and by no means completey without justification [so, even as he asserts the “elective affinity” between German & the idealist tradition, TA allows that a good deal of that tradition might indeed be “nonsense on stilts”]. Historically, in a process that finally needs to be seriously analyzed, the German language has become capable of expressing something in the phenomena that is not exhausted in their mere thus-ness, their positivity, and givenness. This specific quality of the German language can be most graphically demonstrated in the nearly prohibitive difficulty of translating into another language philosophical texts of supreme difficulty such as Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit or his Science of Logic. German is not merely the signification of fixed meanings; rather, it has retained more of the power of expression – more in any case than would be perceived in the Western languages by someone who had not grown up in them and for whom they are not second nature. However, whoever remains convinced that, in contrast to the individual disciplines, the mode of presentation is essential to philosophy – as Ulrich Sonnemann recently put it very succinctly, there has never been a great philosopher who was not also a great writer – will be disposed to the German language. At least the native German will feel that he cannot fully acquire the essential aspect of presentation or expression in the foreign language [a fallback – even if what TA’s said about metaphysics & German is wrong, it’s at least true for the “native German”]. If one writes in a foreign language, then whether it is acknowledged or not, one falls under the captivating spell to communicate, to say it in a way such that others can understand. In one’s own language, however, if one says the matter as exactly and uncompromisingly as possible, one may hope through such unyielding efforts to become understandable as well [Adorno’s first allegiance, then, is to the contours of thought, which he can only accurately trace in German; if he were to write in, say, English (as he did a significant amount of), he’d be tempted to actually “communicate,” and thereby possibly traduce the thought itself]. In the domain of one’s own language, it is this very language itself that stands as a guarantee for one’s fellow human beings. I will not venture to decide whether this circumstance is specific to German or whether it affects far more generally the relationship between each person’s native language and a foreign language. yet the impossibility of conveying without violence not only high-reaching speculative thoughts but even particular, quite precise concepts such as those of Geist, Moment, and Erfahrung, including everything with which they resonate in German, speaks for a specific, objective quality of the German language. Unquestionably the German language also has a price to pay for this quality in the omnipresent temptation that the writer will imagine that the immanent tendencies of German words to say more than they actually say makes things easily and releases him from the obligation of thinking and, where possible, of critically qualifying this ‘more’, instead of playfully indulging it. The returning émigré, who has lost the naïve relationship to what is his own, must unite the most intimate relationship to his native language with unflagging vigilance against any fraud it promotes; against the belief that what I should like to call the metaphysical excess of the German language in itself guarantees the truth of the metaphysics it suggests, or of metaphysics in general. I should perhaps admit in this context that I also for this reason wrote the Jargon of Authenticity [TA’s 1964 attack on Heidegger & Heideggerianism].***
Huzzah! USAirways found my bag, & delivered it to the door about 8.00 pm on New Year's Eve. So I won't have to replace all those toiletries, and find a new hairbrush (not that that's such an essential item anymore...).