chapter  5
29 Pages

Why luxury?

WithLambert Wiesing

The opposite of Theodor W. Adorno’s slavery of purposes is certainly luxury understood as emancipation from the domination of purposes. As a reason for possessing a luxury, Adorno indicates a belief in a modernity that “has escaped the principle of unvarnished necessity and become humane.” As a reason for possessing a luxury, Adorno indicates a belief in a modernity that “has escaped the principle of unvarnished necessity and become humane.” There are passages, especially in the critique of Thorstein Veblen, where one gets the impression that Adorno is using luxury and culture as synonyms. Indication that linguistic estimation as luxury precedes the subjective experience of luxury is that the aesthetic experience of luxury is bound up with the recipient’s specialized knowledge and connoisseurship. The experience of luxury does require that it be eaten, because only in this way can one know that someone has made an unreasonable effort for this silly purpose.