Maimonides, one of the greatest physicians, said that he feared not the wrath of a legion of fools against his teachings, if he could truly enlighten a single pupil. I think he said something like that.
It’s taken me a day to get around to what Horkheimer actually said.
It seems that even as technical knowledge expands the horizon of man’s thought and activity, his autonomy as an individual, his ability to resist the growing apparatus of mass manipulation, his power of imagination, his independent judgment appear to be reduced. Advance in technical facilities for enlightenment is accompanied by a process of dehumanization. Thus progress threatens to nullify the very goal it is supposed to realize-the idea of man.
(PS: I offer no apologies on Horkheimer’s behalf to the pseudointelligent, who parse that paragraph only to offer the reminder “men AND WOMEN,” and to expand the basket of identifiers for humans. One might say that in 1944, “men” was an all-encompassing collective; the objection would follow, and the reply, and so on, until the actual topic were ground into flour.)
I think I think, therefore I think I am.
Reason is now an instrument of production for the factory floor; one reasons for the purpose of producing a thing like a postulate, for the manufacture of further ideas. Reason is the machine tool of factory thought and industrial discourse.
Perhaps instrumental reasoning -industrial reasoning – is the new opiate of the elite.
We are dehumanized by the very way that we use reason – because we use it, as an instrument or means. It is confusing to imply that the phrase, “we think to get thoughts,” is a bit meaningless, if it implies, “we think to get thoughts for…” The purpose of thinking is that we may make useful thoughts. The corollary is not the idea of making useless thoughts, but the insistence that some valuation of thinking can be made, by measure of its concrete utility.