Theses on the Philosophy of History – Walter Benjamin (1940)

Time Interrupted

Classic text by Walter Benjamin, Marxist Jewish-German philosopher loosely affiliated with the Frankfurt School. Written in 1940 shortly before Benjamin committed suicide at the Franco-Spanish border fleeing Nazi invasion.

In the text, Benjamin critiques the idea social progress and lays forth a revolutionary temporality that connects past and present struggles allowing for their mutual recognition and redemption.

Thinking involves not only the flow of thoughts, but their arrest as well.

[He] grasps the constellation which his own era has formed with a definite earlier one…blasting open the continuum of history…Thus he establishes a conception of the present as the ‘time of the now’ which is shot through with chips of Messianic time.