Only the Lie is Free to Speak the Truth

Only the absolute lie now has any freedom to speak the truth. The confounding of truth and lies, making it almost impossible to maintain the distinction, and a labour of Sisyphus to hold on to the simplest piece of knowledge, marks the victory in the field of logical organisation of the principle that lies crushed on that of battle. The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power, a process that truth itself cannot escape if it is not to be annihilated by power, not only suppresses truth as in earlier despotic regimes, but has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false, which the hirelings of logic were in any case diligently working to abolish. So Hitler, of whom no one can say whether he died or escaped, survives. 

Among today’s adept practitioners, the lie has long since lost its honest function of misrepresenting reality. 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 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 – Minima Moralia

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