From the Opium of the People to Acid Communism: On the dialectics of critique and intoxication


  • Thijs Lijster University of Groningen University of Antwerp



critique, intoxication, Benjamin, common sense, acid communism


There seems to be an inherent tension between intoxication and critique. We tend to associate intoxication with immersion, participation, and proximity, while critique is usually connected to the distance, separation, and an outsider-perspective. In this article I want to analyze this tension, but I also want to explore the possibilities, with the German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin as my guide, of a critical intoxication and/or intoxicated critique. What would be the social, political and aesthetic implications for such juxtaposition for both of these categories?

Author Biography

Thijs Lijster, University of Groningen University of Antwerp

Thijs Lijster is assistant professor of philosophy of art and culture at the University of Groningen, and postdoc at the Culture Commons Quest Office of the University of Antwerp. He published Benjamin and Adorno on Art and Art Criticism. Critique of Art (2017), was editor of The Future of the New. Artistic Innovation in Times of Social Acceleration (2018) and co-edited Spaces for Criticism. Shifts in Contemporary Art Discourses (2015). He also published several Dutch-language books and is a regular contributor to Dutch newspapers and periodicals.


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How to Cite

Lijster, Thijs. 2020. “From the Opium of the People to Acid Communism: On the Dialectics of Critique and Intoxication”. Performance Philosophy 5 (2):221-35.