To Readers Of My Writing Over, Under, Within And From Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia: Reflections From Damaged Life (the Blackmail letter)

Whoever won’t take any advice, can’t be helped, say the professionalized intellectuals working within the arts, culture and education sectors, with advice that costs nothing, wishing to buy themselves out of helping while at the same time winning power over those in need.  An appeal to reason was once intimated by all of this, and was noted by both the supplicant and the one who declined to help.  At a distance it recalled justice: whoever followed clever advice, might occasionally find a way out of the station they were born into.
That’s all over now of course, arguably since the middle of the last century or earlier, and everyone is finally aware of it (if only in the silent, inward manner of a slave).  Those who cannot help, should therefore not give advice.  In these professionalized spheres, which are as engendered and overdetermined by capital as all the others, and in which all mouse-holes are stopped up, mere advice turns immediately into an act serving the systemic control of the many by the very few. It is inevitably tantamount to telling the supplicant to do exactly whatever is left of their decency, hope and self-worth most violently rejects.
Wiser for a thousand previous situations, they know all too well what sort of advice they will receive, and come only when ingenuity has failed and cognitive dissonance has been embraced for the sake of possible recognition and inclusion in the future. They are not improved by this. Whoever once sought advice and finds no help anymore, above all those who are weaker, appear in advance to be ruthless opportunists who will never be called out, people whose mode of conduct is spreading irresistibly along with the great trusts. One can observe this most clearly in a certain type of person who is committed to help, who looks out for the interests of needy and powerless friends, those previously pushed to the margins of privilege, and yet who takes on the aspect of something darkly ominous in their zeal. Even their finest virtue, selflessness, is ambiguous.
While they are right to intervene for those who should not fall into ruin, behind the insistent “you must help” stands the tacit appeal to be affirmed by the hegemony of the taste makers and key holders, those already on the payroll of the controllers (or those who imagine themselves to be), those who manage the material means necessary to posit as self-evident that they are smarter, more creative, sensitive, thoughtful, industrious, insightful and deserving.  By not dissociating themselves from those who are unmerciful, the merciful become emissaries of mercilessness.  Everyone is subjugated by duplicity in maintaining the existing hierarchy.
This culture, your career and so-called transgressions, your victories and accolades – none of them are your friends or mine and you know it – but to acknowledge this would expose your paradoxically willful entrapment.
jeremy