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Nature And The Critique Of Myth

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Chapter Summary

Modernity, in Benjamin's view, was fundamentally associated with the sensation of shock. Shock was both a painful destruction of aura and a liberating rupture that opened up possibilities of history, of realizing that society was changeable through human action. However, the predominance of identity-thinking in modernity does not mean that non-identity cannot be perceived. A premise of Adorno's critique of identity-thinking is that all perception is not shaped by concepts. Often it is in experiences such as shock or mental and physical suffering that he seeks potentials for resistance against myth. The possibility of perceiving non-identity is, in other words, a precondition of his critique of myth. The standpoint of the critique of myth in Adorno and Benjamin, then, was the 'hell' of second nature and its aim was to find a way back to history.

Keywords: Adorno; Benjamin; modernity; myth; non-identity



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