By Leo Lowenthal
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Extra resources for An Unmastered Past: The Autobiographical Reflections of Leo Lowenthal
Horkheimer was very knowledgeable in philosophy, but also in political sociology, literature, psychology, and history. The same was true of Marcuse, Teddie, and myself. Although specialists in the narrower sense, Pollock and Fromm were also highly cultured. None of us had chosen narrow fields of study at the university. This was a good basis for our collaboration. Dubiel: Well, I get the feeling that I'm insisting on a personal idée fixe . Lowenthal: In many cases our conversations stimulated future works.
Lowenthal: Well, that's what we did, we carried out the intention. Dubiel: How?  The operational plan was to carry out research on authority. It was unorthodox in the history of organized intellectual and academic life to bring together philosophy, technical, and scientific reflections and then translate them into research. After all, we had learned from Marx that the theoretical requires the empirical, as well as the reverse. So, the unity of theory and empirical research was something we assumed from the outset.
We had a man in our department, a unit supervisor—I don't want to mention his name—who was one of the head informers and was constantly going over to the Waldorf Astoria to relate his horror stories to Cohn and Shine, and probably to McCarthy as well. The man had a secure position; he couldn't be fired. I remember a meeting in which I took part. We realized that we couldn't fire him, but we had to "punish" him somehow. So he was transferred to Kabul, Afghanistan. Dubiel: Can you talk some more about those events?