The immorality of lying

22 January, 2018 at 00:15 | Posted in Varia | 1 Comment

21924557-mmmainThe immorality of lying does not consist in the offence against sacrosanct truth​. An appeal to truth​ is scarcely a prerogative of a society which dragoons its members to own up the better to hunt them down. It ill befits universal untruth to insist on particular truth, while immediately converting it into its opposite … Nobody believes anybody, everyone is in the know. Lies are told only to convey to someone that one has no need either of him or his good opinion. The lie, once a​ liberal means of communication, has today become one of the techniques​ of insolence enabling each individual to spread around him the glacial atmosphere in whose shelter he can thrive.

Theodor Adorno

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  1. I think of music, where Armstrong, say, can play a note and make it sound like it’s on the upbeat but at the end of the phrase it turns into the downbeat. Was he lying? Does it matter? A true note can have multiple interpretations …

    I wrote the following in response to the other Adorno quotation in the post preceding this one:

    Armstrong’s story tells of defining oneself by possibilities, not limitations. Armstrong’s climaxes are inevitable yet unpredictable, defying the classical logic Adorno (no doubt) reveres.

    I guess my point is that Adorno says interesting things but I think his point of view is ultimately constrained by a lack of imagination about how art, music, and language work. Like many academics, Adorno seems to swear fidelity to the Law of Non-Contradiction but music and language allow very interesting and pleasing contradictions.


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