By Leo Lowenthal
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Additional info for An Unmastered Past: The Autobiographical Reflections of Leo Lowenthal
Lowenthal: I feel extremely sad about this matter. On the basis of our conversations, the documents and the correspondence that you have seen, you could have convinced yourself that, within the constraints of its relatively limited funds, the Institute did indeed spend large sums in helping emigré intellectuals. Walter Benjamin was one of those who from the very outset, and uninterruptedly, benefited from this solidarity on the part of the Institute. It is true that Benjamin was not a formal member of the Institute, but he was a close friend of Adorno and his wife, and we all knew him well.
What do you say to the charge that the United States is an imperialist power? Lowenthal: I'm not interested in posing as an ardent critic of American foreign policy. I looked at it from the vantage point of my specific function; after all, I was only the director of a certain department within the American propaganda apparatus that didn't make political decisions itself. I'm emphasizing this only in order to make clear that what I'm about to say is merely an aphoristic marginal note, not a conclusive assertion.
Lowenthal: Well, yes; what we meant was a theoretically adequate approach—a successful grasping of the whole mechanism of modern society. Dubiel: But couldn't Horkheimer's formulation be interpreted differently? " When one mentions a part and a whole in a methodology, individual operations and an anticipated overall view, then one must conceive of certain rules that govern their interconnection. There would have to be the formulation of a methodological parameter by which one could gauge the progress of the historical development up to the point of a theory of historical movement.