Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities

“Quote” of the Week

Here you can find an ever-growing archive of scholars discussing a quote of their choice from the writings of Hannah Arendt


September 19, 2011

Quote: "What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing."

—Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                             Click here to read "To Think What We Are Doing"


September 26, 2011

Quote: “And even if Jews were to win the war...[t]he ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded inside ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defense to a degree that would submerge all other interests and activities.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings, eds. Jerome Kohn and Ron Feldman, New York: Schocken Books, 2007, p.396

Scholar: Kathleen Jones                        Click here to read "It Maybe Too Late Now, But..."


October 3, 2011

Quote: "Even though we have lost yardsticks by which to measure, and rules under which to subsume the particular, a being whose essence is a beginning may have enough of origin within himself to understand without preconceived categories and to judge without the set of customary rules which is morality."

-Hannah Arendt, “Understanding and Politics,” Essays in Understanding.

Tracy Strong                                                 Click here to read "Thinking Without a Banister"


October 11, 2011

Quote: "Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it."

-Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin                                Click here to read "The Weakening of Power Through Violence"


October 17, 2011

Quote: “The essence of totalitarian government, and perhaps the nature of every bureaucracy, is to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men, and thus to dehumanize them. And one can debate long and profitably on the rule of Nobody, which is what the political form known as bureau-cracy truly is….we have become very much accustomed by modern psychology and sociology, not to speak of modern bureaucracy, to explaining away the responsibility of the doer for his deed in terms of this or that kind of determinism.”

-Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem, Essay on the Banality of Evil).

Scholar: Jacob Dahl Rendtorff                       Click here to read "We Cannot Escape from the Personal Responsibility of Our Actions"


October 24, 2011

Quote: "A life spent entirely in public, in the presence of others, becomes, as we would say, shallow. While it retains its visibility, it loses its quality of rising into sight from some darker ground which must remain hidden if it is not to lose its depth in a very real, non-subjective sense. "

                                                      -Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Jennie Han                                                Click here to read "The Public Life"


November 7, 2011

Quote: “While strength is the natural quality of an individual seen in isolation, power springs up between men when they act together and vanishes the moment they disperse.”

—Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (200)

Scholar: Patchen Markell                                                    Click here to read "Power, Arrest, Dispersal"


November 14, 2011

Quote: "The end of rebellion is liberation, while the end of revolution is the foundation of freedom."

  -Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                         Click here to read "The Spirit of Revolution"


November 21, 2011


“It is the function…of all action…to interrupt what otherwise would have proceeded automatically and therefore predictably.”

   -Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones                             Click here to read "Resisting Violence".


November 28, 2011


“…poetically speaking, [history’s] beginning lies…in the moment when Ulysses, at the court of the king of the Phaeacians, listened to the story of his own deeds and sufferings, to the story of his life, now a thing outside itself, an ‘object’ for all to see and to hear. What had been sheer occurrence now became ‘history.’” (“The Concept of History,”Between Past and Future, 1977, p. 45)

-Hannah Arendt

Scholar: Jennie Han                    Click here to read "Reconciling Our Role in History"


December 12, 2011


“Political thought is representative. I form an opinion by considering a given issue from different viewpoints, by making present to my mind the standpoint of those who are absent; that is, I represent them.”

-Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics,” Between Past and Future

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin            Click here to read "Representation in Absentia".


December 19, 2011


“Conceptually, we may call truth what we cannot change; metaphorically, it is the ground on which we stand and the sky that stretches above us.”

— Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics”

Scholar: Patchen Markell                Click here to read "On Facts (for Elisabeth Young-Bruehl)"


January 2, 2012


“[O]ur newest experiences and our most recent fears…[are] a matter of thought and thoughtlessness – the heedless recklessness or hopeless confusion or complacent repetition of ‘truths’ which have become trivial and empty – [This] seems to me among the outstanding characteristics of our time.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Tracy Strong                                        Click here to read "Not Thinking"


January 9, 2012


“The vicarious responsibility for things we have not done, this taking upon ourselves the consequences for things we are entirely innocent of, is the price we pay for the fact that we live our lives not by ourselves but among our fellow men, and that the faculty of action, which, after all, is the political faculty par excellence, can be actualized only as one of the many and manifold forces of human community.”

 -Hannah Arendt , Amor Mundi: Explorations in the Faith and Thought of Hannah Arendt

Scholar: Wolfgang Heuer                                          Click here to read "The Responsibility of Freedom"


January 16, 2012


“For the idea of humanity, when purged of all sentimentality, has the very serious consequence that in one form or another men must assume responsibility for all crimes committed by men and that all nations share the onus of evil committed by all others. Shame at being a human being is the purely individual and still non-political expression of this insight."

-Hannah Arendt, “Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility”

Scholar: Manu Samnotra                                              Click here to read "What Have I Done?"


January 23, 2012


“There is hardly an aspect of contemporary history more irritating and mystifying than the fact that of all the great unsolved political questions of our century, it should have been this seemingly small and unimportant Jewish problem that had the dubious honor of setting the whole infernal machine in motion.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones                                              Click here to read "Eternal Antisemitism"


January 30, 2012


"While lack of political sense and persistence in the obsolete system of making charity the basis of national unity have prevented the Jewish people from taking a positive part in the political life of our day, these very qualities, translated into dramatic forms, have inspired one of the most singular products of modern art—the films of Charlie Chaplin.  In Chaplin the most unpopular people in the world inspired what was long the most popular of contemporary figures—not because he was a modern Merry Andrew, but because he represented the revival of a quality long thought to have been killed by a century of class conflict, namely, the entrancing charm of the little people."

-Hannah Arendt, "The Jew as Pariah:  A Hidden Tradition" (1944)

Scholar: Lance Strate                                                         Click here to read "The Cinematic Jew as Pariah"


February 6, 2012


"Basically we are always educating for a world that is or is becoming out of joint, for this is the basic human situation, in which the world is created by mortal hands to serve mortals for a limited time as home."

-Hannah Arendt,  Between Past and Future

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin                                                  Click here to read "Education in a Transitory World"


February 20. 2012


"Whoever entered the political realm had first to be ready to risk his life, and too great a love for life obstructed freedom, was a sure sign of slavishness. Courage therefore became the political virtue par excellence."

-Hannah Arendt

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                                                     Click here to read "The Courage to Lead"


February 27, 2012


"If this practice [of totalitarianism] is compared with that of tyranny, it seems as if a way had been found to set the desert itself in motion, to let loose a sand storm that could cover all parts of the inhabited earth. The conditions under which we exist today in the field of politics are indeed threatened by these devastating sand storms."

-Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Scholar: Greg Moynahan                                                  Click here to read "The Sandstorm of Repression"


March 5, 2012


"From this, it follows that it is futile to search for an absolute to break the vicious circle in which all beginning is inevitably caught, because this ‘absolute’ lies in the very act of beginning itself. In a way, this has always been known, though it was never fully articulated in conceptual thought for the simple reason that beginning itself, prior to the era of revolution, has always been shrouded in mystery and remained an object of speculation. "

-Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

Scholar: Claudia Hilb                                                              Click here to read  "'Absolute' Beginning"


March 12, 2012


“In contrast to the inorganic thereness of lifeless matter, living beings are not mere appearances. To be alive means to be possessed by an urge toward self-display which answers the fact of one’s own appearingness. Living things make their appearance like actors on a stage set for them.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind, vol. 1: Thinking

Scholar: Jennie Han                                                           Click here to read "Making an Appearance"


March 19, 2011

Quote: "What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing."

—Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                                               Click here to read "To Think What We Are Doing, Again..."


March 26, 2012

Quote: “And do we intend to have our political battles fought out in the school yards?”

—Hannah Arendt, “Reflections on Little Rock”

Scholar: Stephen Haswell Todd                                     Click here to read "Some Reflections on Anoka-Hennepin.


April 2, 2012

Quote: "Political institutions, no matter how well or badly designed, depend for continued existence upon acting men; their conservation is achieved by the same means that brought them into being. Independent existence marks the work of art as a product of making; utter dependence upon further acts to keep it in existence marks the state as a product of action."

-Hannah Arendt, ‘What is Freedom?’ in Between Past and  Future

Scholar: Garrath Williams                                                   Click here to read "The Power of the People"


April 9, 2012

Quote: "It is true that storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it, that it brings about consent and reconciliation with things as they really are, and that we may even trust it to contain eventually by implication that last word which we expect from the Day of Judgment”.

-Hannah Arendt,  “Isak Dinesen: 1885 – 1963” in Men in Dark Times

Scholar: Arie Amaya-Akkermans                                   Click here to read "The Story of Reconciliation"


April 16, 2012

Quote: “Person” - ego - character

“Persona”: mask, originally, the role chosen by the ego for the game among and with human beings, the mask that it holds in front of itself in order to be non-identifiable.

Person: can also, though, be the role or the mask that we are born with, the one given to us by nature in the form of the body and the gifts of the mind, and by society in the form of our social status.

Person in the first sense is actually character, insofar as the person is here and is the product of the ego. The question of identity arises in both cases, in case of the character, in such a way that the ego remains the sovereign master of the character, its product. In the second case, in such a way that the person conceals something else, something apparently deeper, and the ego becomes no more than the formalistic principle of the unity of body and soul, on the one hand, [and] of the coherent relatedness of multiple gifts, on the other.

In contrast: “persona” as “per-sonare” – to sound through.

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch (freely translated by Stefanie Rosenmüller )

Scholar: Stefanie Rosenmüller                                            Click here to read "The Person from Arendt's Perspective


April 23, 2012

Quote: “Factual truth is always related to other people [...]. It is political by nature.”

    -Hannah Arendt, Truth and Politics

   “Our inheritance was left to us by no testament”

            -Hannah Arendt, quoting René Char, Between Past and Future

Scholar: Thomas Wild                                                  Click here to read "Truth in Politics".


April 30, 2012

Quote: Whatever the source of moral knowledge might be—divine commandments or moral reason—every sane man, it was assumed, carried within himself a voice that tells him what is right and what is wrong, and this regardless of the law of the land and regardless of the voices of his fellowmen.

-Hannah Arendt, Some Questions of Moral Philosophy, in Responsibility and Judgment, p. 61.

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones                                              Click here to read "The Voice of Right and Wrong."


May 7, 2012

Quote: “It is perfectly true that ‘all sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them,’ in the words of Isak Dinesen, who not only was one of the great storytellers of our time but also—and she was nearly unique in this respect—knew what she was doing.”

-Hannah Arendt, Truth and Politics, p. 262

“‘All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them’ –Isak Dinesen” (The Human Condition, 175 [one of two mottos for Chapter 5: Action])

Scholar: Michael Weinman                                           Click here to read "Speaking Through the Words of Others."


May 14, 2012

Quote: "We need to learn ‘simplicity’ and to unlearn ‘the simplification of abstract thinking’, to become fluent in the art and the language of ‘concrete’ thoughts and feelings, and thus to comprehend that both abstract notions and abstract emotions are not merely false to what actually happens but are viciously interconnected.”

-Hannah Arendt: Introduction to J. Glenn Gray: The Warriors. Reflections on Men in Battle, New York: Harcourt 1970, p. viii

Scholar: Wolfgang Heuer                                               Click here to read "The Marriage of Reason and Emotion."


May 21, 2012

Quote: Acting and Thinking: Thinking is rather complete concentration or absolute waking, that through which and in which all other "faculties" concentrate themselves.

 -Arendt, Denktagebuch, vol. 1, 12

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                                               Click here to read: The Relation Between Thinking and Acting


May 28, 2012

Quote: "The human condition comprehends more than the condition under which life has been given to man. Men are conditioned beings because everything they come in contact with turns immediately into a condition of their existence.  The world in which the vita activaspends itself consists of things produced by human activities; but the things that owe their existence exclusively to men nevertheless constantly condition their human makers."

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 1958, p. 9

Scholar: Lance Strate                                                          Click here to read "We Create the Conditions that Condition Us."


June  4, 2012

Quote: "From a humdrum life without significance and consequence the wind had blown him into History, as he understood it, namely, into a Movement that always kept moving and in which somebody like him—already a failure in the eyes of his social class, of his family, and hence in his own eyes as well—could start from scratch and still make a career."

-Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, 33

Scholar: Jennie Han                                                  Click here to read "Sacrificing the Individual for the Movement.


June 11, 2012

Quote: "The alternative to forgiveness, but by no means its opposite, is punishment, and both have in common that they attempt to put an end to something that without interference could go on endlessly. It is therefore quite significant, a structural element in the realm of human affairs, that men are unable to forgive what they cannot punish and that they are unable to punish what has turned out to be unforgivable."

- Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Andrew T. Dilts                                      Click here to read "The Alternative to Forgiveness".


June 18, 2012

Quote: It is true that totalitarian domination tried to establish these holes of oblivion into which all deeds, good and evil, would disappear; but just as the Nazis' feverish attempts, from June, 1942, on, to erase all traces of the massacres - through cremation, through burning in open pits, through the use of explosives and flame-throwers and bone-crushing machinery - were doomed to failure, so all efforts to let their opponents "disappear in silent anonymity" were in vain. The holes of oblivion do not exist. Nothing human is that perfect, and there are simply too many people in the world to make oblivion possible. One man will always be left alive to tell the story.

            —Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                                                 Click here to read, "Banishing Oblivion."


July 9, 2012

Quote: “‘[T]he revolution was effected before the war commenced,’ not because of any specifically revolutionary or rebellious spirit but because the inhabitants of the colonies were ‘formed by law into corporations, or bodies politic,’ and possessed ‘the right to assemble … in their town halls, there to deliberate upon the public affairs."

—Hannah Arendt, quoting John Adams, in On Revolution

Scholar: Stephen Haswell Todd                                    Click here to read "To Deliberate Upon the Public Affairs."


July 16, 2012

Quote: "What makes us think? Hegel's answer: Reconciliation. Reconciliation with what? With things as they are. But this we do constantly anyhow by establishing ourselves in the world. Why repeat it in thought?"

- Hannah Arendt's Denktagebuch, 782.

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                                                Click here to read "Why Think?"


July 23, 2012

Quote: “What in thinking only occasionally and quasi-metaphorically happens, to retreat from the world of appearances, takes place in aging and dying as an appearance… in this sense thinking is an anticipation of dying (ceasing, ‘to cease to be among men’) just as action in the sense of ‘to make a beginning’ is a repetition of birth.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, p. 792

Scholar: Ian Storey                                                          Click here to read "The Intimate World"


July 30, 2012

Quote: “The highest laws of the land (America) are not only the constitution and constitutional laws, but also contracts.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, p. 131

Scholar: Tracy B. Strong                                                    Click here to read "The Highest Law of the Land"


August 6, 2012

Quote: “The accusative of violence, like that of love, destroys the in-between, crushes or burns it, renders the other defenseless, strips itself of protection.  In contrast to this stands thedative of saying and speaking, which confirms the in-between, moves within it.  Then again there is the accusative of the singing poem, which removes and releases what it sings from the in-between and its relations, without confirming anything.  When poetry and not philosophy absolutizes, there’s rescue.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, vol. 1, p. 428 [August 1953], (my translation.)

Scholar: Patchen Markell                                               Click here to read "Hannah Arendt & the Case of the Poetry."


August 13, 2012

Quote: “Plurality of languages: [...] It is crucial 1. that there are many languages and that they differ not only in vocabulary, but also in grammar, and so in mode of thought and 2. that all languages are learnable.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, i.e. Thinking Diary, p. 42f

Scholar: Thomas Wild (with Anna Posten)             Click here to read "Arendt's Plurality of Languages."


August 20, 2012

Quote: “We are born into this world of plurality where father and mother stand ready for us, ready to receive us and welcome us and guide us and prove that we are not strangers.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch
Notebook 19, Section 39, Feburary, 1954

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin                                            Click here to read "Born into a World of Plurality."


August 27, 2012

Quote: “What connects thinking and poetry [Dichten] is metaphor. In philosophy one calls concept what in poetry [Dichtkunst] is called metaphor. Thinking creates its “concepts” out of the visible, in order to designate the invisible.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, vol. 2, p. 728 (August 1969) (translation my own)

Scholar: Wout Cornelissen                                           Click here to read "Thinking Metaphors"


September 3, 2012

Quote: It can be dangerous to tell the truth: “There will always be One against All, one person against all others. [This is so] not because One is terribly wise and All are terribly foolish, but because the process of thinking and researching, which finally yields truth, can only be accomplished by an individual person. In its singularity or duality, one human being seeks and finds – not the truth (Lessing) –, but some truth.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, Book XXIV, No. 21

Scholar: Ursula Ludz                                                Click here to read "One Against All"


September 10, 2012

Quote: “Everything that is appears; everything that appears disappears; everything that is alive has anurge to appear; this urge is called vanity; since there is no urge to disappear and disappearance is the law of appearance, the urge, called vanity, is in vain.‘Vanitas vanitatum vanitas’—all is vanity, all is in vain.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, 796

Scholar: Anne O'Byrne                                                Click here to read "Vain, Like a Butterfly."


September 17, 2012

Quote: "The history of humanity is not a hotel where someone can rent a room whenever it suits him; nor is it a vehicle which we board or get out of at random.  Our past will be for us a burden beneath which we can only collapse for as long as we refuse to understand the present and fight for a better future.  Only then—but from that moment on—will the burden become a blessing, that is, a weapon in the battle for freedom."

-Hannah Arendt, "Moses or Washington" (March 27, 1942)

Scholar: Lance Strate                                                    Click here to read "History and Freedom".


September 25, 2012

Quote: “Hence it is not in the least superstitious, it is even a counsel of realism, to look for the unforeseeable and unpredictable, to be prepared for and to expect “miracles” in the political realm. And the more heavily the scales are weighted in favor of disaster, the more miraculous will the deed done in freedom appear.”

—Hannah Arendt, What is Freedom?

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                                              Click here to read, "Does the President Matter?"


October 1, 2012

Quote: “What is necessary for the pubic realm is to shield it from the private interests which have intruded upon it in the most brutal and aggressive form.”

-Hannah Arendt

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones                                           Click here to read Withered Public, Disappearing Private


October 8, 2012

Quote:‘They must remember that they are constantly on the run, and that the world’s reality is actually expressed by their escape.’

 -Hannah Arendt, ‘On Humanity in Dark Times: Thoughts about Lessing’

Scholar: Lyndsey Stonebridge                                  Click here to read "Refugee Writers and Inner Emigrants"


October 15, 2012

Quote: Political thought is representative. I form an opinion by considering a given issue from different viewpoints….This process of representation does not blindly adopt the actual views of those who stand somewhere else, and hence look upon the world from a different perspective; this is a question neither of empathy, as though I tried to be or to feel like somebody else, nor of counting noses and joining a majority but of being and thinking in my own identity where actually I am not.

-Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics” in Between Past and Future, p. 241

Scholar: Jennie Han                                               Click here to read "The Political Weakness of Empathy"


October 22, 2012

Quote: "Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable."

—Hannah Arendt, The Crisis in Education

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                  Click here to read 'For the Love of the World.'


October 29, 2012

Quote: “The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and ourselves.”

-Hannah Arendt,  The Human Condition

Scholar: Peter Baehr                                                 Click here to read "The Burqa and the Political Realm."


November 5, 2012

Quote: “…the enormous pathos which we find in both the American and French Revolutions, this ever-repeated insistence that nothing comparable in grandeur and significance had every happened in the whole recorded history of mankind…”

-Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

Scholar: Ian Storey                                             Click here to read, "The Election: What's Freedom Got to do with it?"


November 12, 2012

Quote: “The teacher's qualification consists in knowing the world and being able to instruct others about it, but his authority rests on his assumption of responsibility for that world.  Vis-à-vis the child, it is as though he were a representative of all adult inhabitants, pointing out the details and saying to the child:  This is our world."

-Hannah Arendt, "A Crisis in Education"

Scholar: Ellen Rigsby                                    Click here to read "Leading Students Into the World"


November 19, 2012

Quote: “In solitude a dialogue always arises, because even in solitude there are always two.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch

Scholar: Louise Brinkerhoff                        Click here to read "Even in Solitude There are Always Two"


November 26, 2012

Quote: “To be alive means to live in a world that proceeded one’s own arrival and will survive one’s own departure. On this level of sheer being alive, appearance and disappearance, as they follow upon each other, are the primordial events, which as such mark out time, the time span between birth and death.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

Scholar: Davide Panagia                       Click here to read "The Politics of Appearances."


December 3, 2012

Quote: "The emergence of society—the rise of housekeeping, its activities, problems, and organizational devices—from the shadowy interior of the household into the light of the public sphere, has not only blurred the old borderline between private and political, it has also changed almost beyond recognition the meaning of the two terms and their significance for the life of the individual and the citizen. Not only would we not agree with the Greeks that a life spent in the privacy of "one's own" (idion), outside the world of the common, is "idiotic" by definition, or with the Romans to whom privacy offered but a temporary refuge from the business of the res publica; we call private today a sphere of intimacy whose beginnings we may be able to trace back to late Roman, though hardly to any period of Greek antiquity, but whose peculiar manifoldness and variety were certainly unknown to any period prior to the modern age. "

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Lance Strate                        Click here to read "The Deprivations of Privacy"


December 10, 2010

Quote: “And wonder what you’ve missed”

- W. H. Auden, as quoted in Hannah Arendt’s The Life of the Mind

Scholar: Frances Lee                                     Click here to read 'Arendt & Auden'


December 17, 2012

Quote: “We are wont to see friendship solely as a phenomenon of intimacy in which the friends open their hearts to each other unmolested by the world and its demands...Thus it is hard for us to understand the political relevance of friendship...But for the Greeks the essence of friendship consisted in discourse...The converse (in contrast to the intimate talk in which individuals speak about themselves), permeated though it may be by pleasure in the friend’s presence, is concerned with the common world.”

-Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times, p. 24

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones                      Click here to read "Remembrance and Gratitude"


January 7, 2013

Quote: “To my dear Hannah,

In these years our friendship has stood the test.

In this relationship we no longer need to have any worries.


Your Kurt.

New York, April 30th 1945.”

Scholar: Kerk Soursourian                            Click here to read "See You Again"


January 14, 2013

Quote: Power is actualized only where word and deed have not parted company, where words are not empty and deeds not brutal, where words are not used to veil intentions but to disclose realities, and where deeds are not used to violate and destroy but to establish relations and create new realities.

 -Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: William Dixon                                           Click here to read "When Power is Lost"


January 21, 2013

Quote: “All thought arises out of experience, but no thought yields any meaning or even coherence without undergoing the operations of imagining and thinking.”

- Hannah Arendt, Thinking

Scholar: Ian Storey                                                        Click here to read  "Violence, and Thinking with Others"


January 28, 2013

Quote: "Exactly for the sake of what is new and revolutionary in every child, education must be conservative; it must preserve this newness and introduce it as a new thing into an old world."

-Hannah Arendt, The Crisis in Education

Scholar: Thomas Wild                                               Click here to read "For the Sake of What is New."


February 4, 2013

Quote: "Heidegger is wrong: man is not “thrown” “in the world;” if we are thrown, then – no differently from animals – onto the earth. Man is precisely guided, not thrown, precisely for that reason his continuity arises and the way he belongs appears. Poor us, if we are thrown into the world!"

"Heidegger hat unrecht: “in die Welt” ist der Mensch nicht “geworfen;” wenn wir geworfen sind, so – nicht anders als die Tiere – auf die Erde. In die Welt gerade wird der Mensch geleitet, nicht geworfen, da gerade stellt sich seine Kontinuität her und offenbart seine Zugehörigkeit. Wehe uns, wenn wir in die Welt geworfen werden!"

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, Notebook 21, Section 68, August, 1955

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin                                             Click here to read "Guided Into the World".


February 11, 2013

Quote: "The extreme form of power is All against One, the extreme form of violence is One against All. And this latter is never possible without instruments."

-Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Scholar: Lance Strate                                                   Click here to read "Secondhand Gun Smoke."


February 18, 2013

Quote: “German Jewry, like Western European Jewry in general, never understood that the simple person is the true center of politics in all democratically governed countries.

And this is also the reason why German Jews often do not understand the just national aspirations of the Jewish people [folk]. Most do not know at all what a people [folk] really is and what it wants. The most beautiful Hebrew in the world will not teach them that. Let the German Jews learn to respect simple person [poshete mentshn], in general, and the simple Jew [yiddishe folks-mentsh], in particular – and then you will be able to speak to them about Jewish politics in all the languages of the world.”

-Hannah Arendt, Op-Ed in Morgen Zshurnal, 1942

Scholar: Na’ama Rokem                                             Click here to read "Hannah Arendt and Yiddish."


February 25, 2012

Quote: "[T]here is another even more cogent reason for [the layman] concerning himself with a critical situation in which he is not immediately involved. And that is the opportunity, provided by the very fact of crisis—which tears away facades and obliterates prejudices—to explore and inquire into whatever has been laid bare of the essence of the matter…"

-Hannah Arendt, "The Crisis in Education"

Scholar: John LeJeune                                                  Click here to read "Learning from Crisis."


March 4, 2013

Quote: Until now the totalitarian belief that everything is possible seems to have proved only that everything can be destroyed. Yet, in their effort to prove that everything is possible, totalitarian regimes have discovered without knowing it   that there are crimes which men can neither punish nor forgive. When the impossible was made possible it became the unpunishable, unforgivable absolute evil which could no longer be understood and explained by the evil motives of self-interest, greed, covetousness, resentment, lust for power, and cowardice; and which therefore anger could not revenge, love could not endure, friendship could not forgive. Just as the victims in the death factories or the holes of oblivion are no longer "human" in the eyes of their executioners, so this newest species of criminals is beyond the pale even of solidarity in human sinfulness.

-Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism 

Scholar: Grace Hunt                                              Click here to read "Arendt on Resentment."


March 11, 2013

Quote: “The wonder that man endures or which befalls him cannot be related in words because it is too general for words….That this speechless wonder is the beginning of philosophy became axiomatic for both Plato and Aristotle.”

-Hannah Arendt, "Philosophy and Politics"

Scholar: Tracy B. Strong                                   Click here to read "The Wonder That Man Endures."


March 18, 2013

Quote: “If it is true that all thought begins with remembrance, it is also true that no remembrance remains secure unless it is condensed and distilled into a framework of conceptual notions within which it can further exercise itself.”

-Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

Scholar: Wolfgang Heuer                                 Click here to read "Do Revolutionaries Always Establish a Dictatorship?"


 March 25, 2013

Quote: Trespassing is an everyday occurrence which is in the very nature of action’s constant establishment of new relationships within a web of relations, and it needs forgiving, dismissing in order to go on by constantly releasing men     from what they have done unknowingly.  Only through this constant mutual release from what they do can men remain free agents, only by constant willingness to change their minds and start again can they be trusted with so great a power as that to begin something new.

—Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Grace Hunt                                           Click here to read "Forgiveness."


April 1, 2013

Quote: Critical thinking is possible only where the standpoints of all others are open to inspection. Hence, critical thinking, while still a solitary business, does not cut itself off from ‘all others.’ To be sure, it still goes on in isolation, but by the force of imagination it makes the others present and thus moves in a space that is potentially public, open to all sides; in other words, it adopts the position of Kant’s world citizen. To think with an enlarged mentality means that one trains one’s imagination to go visiting.

-Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy, 43

Scholar: Jennie Han                                       Click here to read "Critical Thinking, Judgment and Empathy."


April  8, 2013

Quote: “The shift from the ‘why’ and ‘what’ to the ‘how’ implies that the actual objects of knowledge can no longer be things or eternal motions but must be processes, and that the object of science is no longer nature or the universe but the history, the story of the coming into being, of nature or life or the universe....Nature, because it could be known only in processes which human ingenuity, the ingeniousness of homo faber, could repeat and remake in the experiment, became a process, and all particular natural things derived their significance and meaning solely from their function in the over-all process. In the place of the concept of Being we now find the concept of Process. And whereas it is in the nature of Being to appear and thus disclose itself, it is in the nature of Process to remain invisible, to be something whose existence can only be inferred from the presence of certain phenomena.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones                      Click here to read "The New Materialism: From 'Why' and 'What' to 'How'."


April 15, 2013

Quote: No government exclusively based on the means of violence has ever existed. Even the totalitarian ruler, whose chief instrument of rule is torture, needs a power basis—the secret police and its net of informers. Only the development of robot soldiers, which, as previously mentioned, would eliminate the human factor completely and, conceivably, permit one man with a push button to destroy whomever he pleased, could change this fundamental ascendancy of power over violence.
—Hannah Arendt, “On Violence.”

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz                     Click here to read "The Impact of Modern Warfare on Power and Politics."


April 29, 2013

Quote: "It is better for you to suffer than to do wrong because you can remain the friend of the sufferer; who would want to be the friend of and have to live together with a murderer? Not even a murderer.  What kind of dialogue could you lead with him? Precisely the dialogue which Shakespeare let Richard III lead with himself after a great number of crimes had been committed:

What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by.
Richard loves Richard: that is, I am I.
Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:
Then fly. What from myself?"
-Hannah Arendt, ‘Thinking and Moral Considerations’

Scholar: Lyndsey Stonebridge            Click here to read "Performing Thinking: Arendt's Richard III"


May 6, 2013

 Quote: “[Augustine] distinguishes between the questions of "Who am I?" and "What am I?" the first being directed by man at himself […] For in the "great mystery," the grande profundum, which man is (iv. 14), there is "something of man [aliquid hominis] which the spirit of man which is in him itself knoweth not. But Thou, Lord, who has made him [fecisti eum] knowest everything of him [eius omnia]" (x. 5).”

-Hannah Arendt, Human Condition

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin                Click here to read "Arendt and Philosophical Anthropology"


May 13, 2013

Quote: "There is perhaps no clearer testimony to the loss of the public realm in the modern age than the almost complete loss of authentic concern with immortality, a loss somewhat overshadowed by the simultaneous loss of the               metaphysical concern with eternity."

-Hannah Arendt,  The Human Condition

Scholar: Lance Strate                        Click here to read "Death and the Public Realm"


May 20, 2013

Quote: "Men=earthbound creatures, living in communities, endowed with common sense, sensus communis, a community sense; not autonomous, needing each other’s company even for thinking (“freedom of the pen”)=first part of the Critique of Judgment: aesthetic judgment."

-Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy

Scholar: Jennie Han                         Click here to read "The Courage of Judgment"


May 28, 2013

Quote: “One feels very lonely in this country; this has to do in particular with the fact that everyone is very busy and that for most people the need for leisure simply ceases to exist after a certain amount of time.”

- Hannah Arendt to Gershom Scholem, November 4, 1943

Scholar: Thomas Wild                 Click here to read "Too Busy to Think"


June 3, 2013

Quote: “There is a difference between a man who sets out to murder his old aunt and people who without considering the economic usefulness of their actions at all (…) build factories to produce corpses. (…) Perhaps what is behind it all is only that individual human beings did not kill other individual human beings for human reasons, but that an organized attempt was made to eradicate the concept of the human being”.  –  “And all this ... arises from – or, better, goes along with – the delusion of the omnipotence (not simply with the lust for power) of an individual man. If an individual man qua man were omnipotent, then there is in fact no reason why men in the plural should exist at all – just as in monotheism it is only God’s omnipotence that made him ONE.”

-Hannah Arendt / Karl Jaspers: Correspondence 1926-1969

Scholar: Wolfgang Heuer      Click here to read "The Delusion of the Omnipotence"


June 10, 2013

Quote: "There is no lasting happiness outside the prescribed cycle of painful exhaustion and pleasurable regeneration, and whatever throws this cycle out of balance – poverty and misery where exhaustion is followed by wretchedness instead of regeneration, or great riches and an entirely effortless life where boredom takes the place of exhaustion and where the mills of necessity, of consumption and digestion, grind an impotent human body mercilessly and barrenly to death – ruins the elemental happiness that comes from being alive."

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Steven Tatum       Click here to read "Labor and Summer Vacation"


June 17, 2013

Quote: Everything that is, must appear, and nothing can appear without a shape of its own…

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: John LeJeune      Click here to read "Transformation of the Intangible"


July 1, 2013

Quote: “Don’t hold your breath, ‘cause the pretty things are going to hell…”

-David Bowie

Scholar: Ian Storey          Click here to read "Un-shared Worlds."


July 8, 2013

Quote: “The sad truth of the matter is that the French Revolution, which ended in disaster, has made world history, while the American Revolution, so triumphantly successful, has remained an event of little more than local importance.”

-Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

 Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones    Click here to read "On Revolution"


July 15, 2013

"impartiality is obtained by taking the viewpoints of others into account; impartiality is not the result of some higher standpoint that would then actually settle the dispute by being altogether above the meleé."

-Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin       Click here to read "Impartiality"


July 22, 2013

[T]here are, indeed, few things that are more frightening than the steadily increasing prestige of scientifically minded brain trusters in the councils of government during the last decades. The trouble is not that they are cold-blooded enough to “think the unthinkable,” but that they do not think.

-Hannah Arendt, "On Violence"

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz       Click here to read "The Danger of Intellectuals"


July 29, 2013

Futility of action = need
for permanence—
Poetry or body politic

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, October 1953 (volume 1, p. 61)

Scholar: Jeff Champlin         Click here to read "Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch"


August 5, 2013

"The human condition comprehends more than the condition under which life has been given to man. Men are conditioned beings because everything they come in contact with turns immediately into a condition of their existence.  The world in which the vita activa spends itself consists of things produced by human activities; but the things that owe their existence exclusively to men nevertheless constantly condition their human makers."

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Lance Strate        Click here to read "We Create the Conditions that Condition Us"


August 12, 2013

"The state of affairs, which indeed is equaled nowhere else in the world, can properly be called mass culture; its promoters are neither the masses nor their entertainers, but are those who try to entertain the masses with what once was an authentic object of culture, or to persuade them that Hamlet can be as entertaining as My Fair Lady, and educational as well. The danger of mass education is precisely that it may become very entertaining indeed; there are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect, but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say. "

-Hannah Arendt, "Mass Culture and Mass Media"

Scholar: Lance Strate      Click here to read "Can We Survive Entertainment?"


August 26, 2013

“The last stage of the laboring society, the society of job holders, demands of its members a sheer automatic functioning, as though individual life had actually been submerged in the over-all life process of the species and the only active decision still required of the individual were to let go, so to speak, to abandon his individuality, the still individually sensed pain and trouble of living, and acquiesce in a dazed, ‘tranquilized’, functional type of behavior”.

-Hannah Arendt,  "The Human Condition"

Scholar: Gregor Fitzi           Click here to read "Machine-man and man-machines in the last stage of the laboring society."


September 9, 2013

"Any period to which its own past has become as questionable as it has to us must eventually come up against the phenomenon of language, for in it the past is contained ineradicably, thwarting all attempts to get rid of it once and for all. The Greek polis will continue to exist at the bottom of our political existence...for as long as we use the word 'politics.'"

-Hannah Arendt, "Walter Benjamin: 1892-1940"

Sscholar: John leJeune        Click here to read "A Common Language"


September 16, 2013

"It requires courage even to leave the protective security of our four walls and enter the public realm, not because of particular dangers which may lie in wait for us, but because we have arrived in a realm where the concern for life has lost its validity. Courage liberates men from their worry about life for the freedom of the world. Courage is indispensable because in politics not life but the world is at stake.

-Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future

Scholar: Jennie Han            Click here to read "The Courage to Make Plurality"


September 23, 2013

“Culture is being threatened when all worldly objects and things, produced by the present or the past, are treated as mere functions for the life process of society, as though they are there only to fulfill some need, and for this functionalization it is almost irrelevant whether the needs in question are of a high or a low order.”

--Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Culture”

Scholar: Jennifer Hudson      Click here to read "The False Culture of Utility"


September 30, 2013

Neither education nor ingenuity nor talent can replace the constituent elements of the public realm, which make it the proper place for human excellence.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Angel Arias         Click here to read "Hannah Arendt on Education and Excellence"


October 7, 2013

People blame [übel nehmen] me for one thing—and I can understand that to some extent, outwardly—namely that I can still laugh [about it], right? And I was really of the opinion that Eichmann was a clown [ein Hanswurst], and I tell you, I read this police interrogation, 3600 pages, very carefully, and I don’t know how often I laughed, but loudly. Now, this reaction is what people blame me for. I can’t do anything against that. But I know one thing. I would probably still laugh three minutes before [certain death]. And that, you say, is the tone. The tone is widely ironic, of course. That is completely true. That is exactly, the tone is in this case really the human being. When people [reproach] me, then, in this story that I supposedly accused the Jewish people, that is a malicious propaganda lie, and nothing more. The tone, however, is an objection against me as a person; I can’t do anything against that.

Interview with Günter Gaus, October 28, 1964, trans. mine.

Scholar: Michiel Bot             Click here to read "Irony as an Antidote to Thoughtlessness"


October 21, 2013

“Political language…is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.  One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase…into the dustbin where it belongs.”

-George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”

Scholar: Ian Storey             Click here to read "Of Ceilings and Binders:The Case for Satire"


October 28, 2013

“When the Revolution [sic] devoured its own children like Saturn and was like a gigantic Lava [sic] stream on whose surface the actors were born [sic] along for a while, only to be sucked away by the undertow of an undercurrent mightier than they themselves.”

-Hannah Arendt, "Revolutions - Spurious and Genuine" (unpublished)

Scholar: Thomas Wild        Click here to read "Revolutions"


November 4, 2013

"Acting and Thinking: Thinking is rather complete concentration or absolute waking, that through which and in which all other "faculties" concentrate themselves."

-Arendt, Denktagebuch, vol. 1, 12

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz     Click here to read " The Relation Between Thinking and Acting"


November 11, 2013

“What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing”

—Hannah Arendt, “Prologue”, The Human Condition

Scholar: Na’ama Rokem        Click here to read "The Gravity of Thinking"


November 25, 2013

"Action is “the miracle that saves the world from its normal, ‘natural’ ruin.”

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

“I mentioned the quality of being a person as distinguished from being mere human..., and I said that to speak about a moral personality is almost redundancy...In the process of thought in which I actualize the specifically human difference of speech I explicitly constitute myself a person, and I shall remain one to the extent that I am capable of such constitution ever again and anew.”

-Hannah Arendt, "Some Questions of Moral Philosophy"

Scholar: Wolfgang Heuer        Click here to read "Some Thoughts on the Importance of Personality"


December 2, 2013

“To interpret, to quote – yet only to have witnesses, also friends.”

-Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, vol. 2, p. 756 (November 1969)

Scholar: Wout Cornelissen     Click here to read "Hannah Arendt, Quote Unquote"


December 9, 2013

“There exists in our society widespread fear of judging…[B]ehind the unwillingness to judge lurks the suspicion that no one is a free agent, and hence doubt that anyone is responsible or could be expected to answer for what he has done…Who has ever maintained that by judging a wrong I presuppose that I myself would be incapable of committing it?”

-Hannah Arendt, "Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship"

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones    Click here to read "Thinking and Moral Considerations"


January 6, 2014

“The teacher’s qualification consists in knowing the world and being able to instruct others about it, but his authority rests on his assumption of responsibility for that world. Vis-à-vis the child it is as though he were a representative of all adult inhabitants, pointing out the details and saying to the child: This is our world.”

-Hannah Arendt, "The Crisis in Education"

Scholar: Steven Tatum           Click here to read "Teaching Arendtian Thinking"


January 13, 2014

“[T]o the extent that they had a positive notion of freedom which would transcend the idea of a successful liberation from tyrants and from necessity, this notion was identified with the act of foundation, that is, the framing of a constitution.”

-Hannah Arendt, "On Revolution"

Scholar: Sandipto Dasgupta    Click here to read "Constitutions and the Social Questions: Arendt, Ambedkar, and the Limits of Political Theory"


January 27, 2014

“Even if all criticism of Plato is right, Plato may still be better company than his critics.  At any rate, we may remember what the Romans…thought a cultivated person ought to be: one who knows how to choose his company among men, among things, among thoughts, in the present as well as in the past.”

Hannah Arendt-Between Past and Future

Scholar: Ian Storey                   Click here to read "Forgiving Falling Stars" 


February 3, 2014

“If this practice [of totalitarianism] is compared with […] [the desert] of tyranny, it seems as if a way had been found to set the desert itself in motion, to let loose a sand storm that could cover all parts of the inhabited earth.
The conditions under which we exist today in the field of politics are indeed threatened by these devastating sand storms.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Scholar: Bill Dixon              Click here to read "Totalitarianism and the Sand Storm"


February 17, 2014

“This future man, whom the scientists tell us they will produce in no more than a hundred years, seems to be possessed by a rebellion against human existence as it has been given, a free gift from nowhere (secularly speaking), which he wishes to exchange, as it were, for something he has made himself.”

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Jennifer M. Hudson   Click here to read "The Dystopia of Knowledge"


February 24, 2014

"We need to go one step further, in order to bring to light the extreme radicality of Arendt’s thesis: following the dialectical model of the coincidentia oppositorum, she does not limit herself to making the institution the source of positive right, but she sees in it a construction of the human as such, and she pushes the idea of a politics of human rights to the point of making dissidence—in the specifically modern form of ‘civil disobedience’—the touchstone of the founding reciprocity of rights."

Étienne Balibar

Scholar: Michiel Bot                Click here to read "Etienne Balibar's Reading of Arendt's "Politics of Human Rights""


March 3, 2014

‘This child, this in-between to which the lovers are now related and which they hold in common, is representative of the world in that it also separates them; it is an indication that they will insert a new world into the existing world.’

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Anna Metcalfe        Click here to read "Arendtian Action"


March 10, 2014

“It may well be the region of the spirit or, rather, the path paved by thinking, this small track of non-time which the activity of thought beats within the time-space of mortal men and into which the trains of thought, of remembrance and anticipation, save whatever they touch from the ruin of historical and biographical time. This small non-time-space in the very heart of time, unlike the world and the culture into which we are born, can only be indicated, but cannot be inherited and handed down from the past; each new generation, indeed every new human being as he inserts himself between an infinite past and an infinite future, must discover and ploddingly pave it anew.”

—Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future

 Scholar: Jason Adams        Click here to read "Non-Time"


March 17, 2013

Indeed my opinion now is that evil is never “radical,” that it is only extreme, and that it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension. It can overgrow and lay waste the whole world precisely because it spreads like a fungus over the surface. It is ‘thought-defying,’ as I said, because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing.

-Hannah Arendt, letter to Gershom Scholem

Scholar: Ian Zuckerman        Click here to read "Dr. Strangelove and the Banality of Evil"


March 24, 2014

“Like all collections of essays, this book of exercises [is] a sequence of movements which, like in a musical suite, are written in the same or related keys.”

– Hannah Arendt, Preface to Between Past and Future, 1961

Scholar: Thomas Wild       Click here to read "The Essay Form"

Translated from the German by Anne Posten


March 31, 2014

"Before we knew how to circle the earth, how to circumscribe the sphere of human habitation in days and hours, we had brought the globe into our living rooms to be touched by our hands and swirled before our eyes."

-Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Martin Wagner      Click here to read "World Alienation and Global Tourism"


April 14, 2014

"The end of the old is not necessarily the beginning of the new."

-Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

Scholar: Lance Strate          Click here to read "Hiatus, Discontinuity, and Change"


April 28, 2014

"If people think that one can only write about these things in a solemn tone of voice...Look, there are people who take it amiss—and I can understand that in a sense—that, for instance, I can still laugh. But I was really of the opinion that Eichmann was a buffoon..."

-Hannah Arendt

Scholar: Kathleen B. Jones          Click here to read "Bearing the Burden of the Past"


May 5, 2014

"Thinking in its non-cognitive, non-specialized sense as a natural need of human life, the actualization of the difference given in consciousness, is not a prerogative of the few but an everpresent faculty of everybody; by the same token, inability to think is not the “prerogative” of those many who lack brain power but the everpresent possibility for everybody—scientists, scholars, and other specialists in mental enterprises not excluded—to shun that intercourse with oneself whose possibility and importance Socrates first discovered."

--Hannah Arendt, “Thinking and Moral Considerations: A Lecture” (1971)

Scholar: Michiel Bot          Click here to read "Demanding Thinking of Everybody"


May 12, 2014

“Moreover, if we inquire historically into the causes likely to transform engagés into enragés, it is not injustice that ranks first, but hypocrisy. … To tear the mask of hypocrisy from the face of the enemy, to unmask him and the devious machinations and manipulations that permit him to rule without using violent means, that is, to provoke action even at the risk of annihilation so that the truth may come out—these are still among the strongest motives in today’s violence on the campuses and in the streets.  And this violence again is not irrational.  Since men live in a world of appearances and, in their dealing with it, depend on manifestation, hypocrisy’s conceits—as distinguished from expedient ruses, followed by disclosure in due time—cannot be met by so-called reasonable behavior.  Words can be relied on only if one is sure that their function is to reveal and not to conceal.  It is the semblance of rationality, much more than the interests behind it, that provokes rage.”

--Hannah Arendt On Violence (65-66)

Scholar:  Jennifer M. Hudson         Click here to read "Violence, Hypocrisy, and Scientific-Administrative 'Laws'"


May 19, 2014

“[Regarding The Origins of Totalitarianism] while I feel that within the necessary limitations of a historical study and political analysis I made myself sufficiently clear on certain general perplexities which have come to light through the full development of totalitarianism, I also know that I failed to explain the particular method which I came to use, and to account for a rather unusual approach [to] the whole field of political and historical sciences as such. One of the difficulties of the book is that it does not belong to any school and hardly uses any of the officially recognized or officially controversial instruments.”

--Hannah Arendt, Review of Politics, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Reply to Eric Voegelin (1953)

Scholar:  Wolfgang Heuer        Click here to read "Arendt on the Limits of Social Science"


May 27, 2014

“Men who no longer can make sure of the reality which they feel and experience through talking about it and sharing it with their fellow-men, live in the same nightmare of loneliness and uncertainty which, in a normal world, is the terrible fate of insanity.”

--Hannah Arendt, “Ideology and Propaganda”

Scholar:  Paul Morrow        Click here to read "The Emperor's New Clothes and Pluralistic Ignorance"


June 2, 2014

“It is obvious: if you do not accept something that assumes the form of ‘destiny,’ you not only change its ‘natural laws’ but also the laws of the enemy playing the role of fate.”

--Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings (223)

Scholar: Manu Samnotra       Click here to read "Arendt and a 'Special Jewish Destiny'"


June 9, 2014

“The inner I: That I of reflection is the self, a reflection of the appearing human, so mortal, finite, growing old, capable of change, etc. On the other hand, the I of apperception, the thinking I, which does not change and is timeless. (Kafka Parable)”

—Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, February 1966

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin       Click here to read "Arendt on Thinking with Kant and Kafka"


June 16, 2014

“If the world is to contain a public space, it cannot be erected for one generation and planned for the living only; it must transcend the life-span of mortal men…. There is perhaps no clearer testimony to the loss of the public realm in the modern age than the almost complete loss of authentic concern with immortality, a loss somewhat overshadowed by the simultaneous loss of the metaphysical concern with eternity.”

--Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Scholar: Christopher C. Robinson       Click here to read "Arendt and Intergenerational Justice"


June 23, 2014

“The Jewish Army—The beginning of Jewish Politics?”

–Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings

Scholar: Faisal Baluch       Click here to read "Politics and Violence: Arendt on the Idea of a Jewish Army"


June 30, 2014

“I am not disturbed at all about being a woman professor, because I am quite used to being a woman.”

--Cited in Arendt obituary, New York Times, 5 December 1975

Scholar: Jennie Han       Click here to read "Arendt and Exceptionalism"


July 7, 2014

“Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche are for us like guideposts to a past which has lost its significance.”

--Hannah Arendt, “Tradition and the Modern Age”

Scholar: Martin Wagner       Click here to read "Google Books and the Problem of Tradition"


July 14, 2014

“Israeli citizens, religious and nonreligious, seem agreed upon the desirability of having a law that prohibits intermarriage, and it is chiefly for this reason…that they are also agreed upon the undesirability of a written constitution in which such a law would embarrassingly have to be spelled out. … Whatever the reasons, there was certainly something breathtaking in the naiveté with which the prosecution denounced the infamous Nuremburg Laws of 1935, which had prohibited intermarriage and sexual relations between Jews and Germans. The better informed among the correspondents were well aware of the irony, but they did not mention it in their reports.”

--Eichmann in Jerusalem, p. 7

Scholar: Michael Weinman      Click here to read "Irony and Theodicy: Laughing Out Loud about the Greatest of Moral Disorders"


July 21, 2014

"It is true that storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it, that it brings about consent and reconciliation with things as they really are, and that we may even trust it to contain eventually by implication that last word which we expect from the Day of Judgment”.

--Hannah Arendt, “Isak Dinesen: 1885 – 1963” in Men in Dark Times

Scholar: Arie Amaya-Akkermans       Click here to read "The Story of Reconciliation"


July 28, 2014

"There is perhaps no clearer testimony to the loss of the public realm in the modern age than the almost complete loss of authentic concern with immortality, a loss somewhat overshadowed by the simultaneous loss of the metaphysical concern with eternity."

--Hannah Arendt,  The Human Condition

Scholar: Lance Strate         Click here to read "Death and the Public Realm"


August 4, 2014

“It is in the very nature of things human that every act that has once made its appearance and has been recorded in the history of mankind stays with mankind as a potentiality long after its actuality has become a thing of the past. No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been."

--Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem

Scholar: Jeffrey Jurgens        Click here to read "The Demand for 'Beginning' in the Face of the Unprecedented"


August 11, 2014

“Collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we are…the world in which what we see as incompatible values are not in conflict is a world altogether beyond our ken; …it is on earth that we live, and it is here that we must believe and act.”

-- Isaiah Berlin, The Crooked Timber of Humanity

Scholar: Ian Storey      Click here to read "Isaiah Berlin and the Collision of Values"


August 18, 2014

“Politics arises between men, and so quite outside of man. There is therefore no real political substance. Politics arises in what lies between men and is established as relationships.”

-- The Promise of Politics 95, emphasis in original

Scholar: Laurie Naranch       Click here to read "Freedom, 'Betweenness', and the Meaning of Politics"


August 25, 2014

"The end of rebellion is liberation, while the end of revolution is the foundation of freedom."

-Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

Scholar: Roger Berkowitz        Click here to read "The Spirit of Revolution"


September 1, 2014

“Scientific and philosophic truth have parted company.”

—Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 41.290

Scholar: Richard Barrett       Click here to read "Alienation from the Cartesian Change in the Meaning of Truth"


September 8, 2014

“The earthly home becomes a world only when objects as a whole are produced and organized in such a way that they may withstand the consumptive life-process of human beings living among them – and may outlive human beings, who are mortal.”

--Hannah Arendt, “Culture and Politics”

Scholar: Hans Teerds       Click here to read "Work and Culture"


September 15, 2014

“Walter Benjamin knew that the break in tradition and loss of authority which occurred in his lifetime were irreparable, and he concluded that he had to discover new ways of dealing with the past. In this he became a master when he discovered that the transmissibility of the past had been replaced by the citability and that in place of its authority there had arisen a strange power to settle down, piecemeal, in the present and to deprive it of ‘peace of mind,’ the mindless peace of complacency.”

–Hannah Arendt, “Introduction” to Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations

Scholar: Laurie Naranch       Click here to read "Walter Benjamin and 'Drilling' for Truth"


September 22, 2014

“Matisse Show in Chicago: The five sculptured heads of Jeanette (1910-1913): the first—her appearance, and then as though layer upon layer were ripped off, one uglier than the former, the last like a monstrosity makes the first look as though our face were nothing but a precarious façade. Plato’s naked soul piercing into naked soul. As though our clothes were only to hide the ugliness of the body. The whole of modern psychology. The soul-body problem = appearance versus being.”

—Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch XXV, 10

Scholar: Anne O'Byrne         Click here to read "Arendt, Matisse, and Stripping Away the Face"


September 29, 2014

"Every show of anger, as distinct from the anger I feel, already contains a reflection on it, and it is this reflection that gives the emotion the highly individualized form which is meaningful for all surface phenomena. To show one’s anger is one form of self-presentation: I decide what is fit for appearance."

-- Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind (Thinking)

Scholar: Kazue Koishikawa         Click here to read "Arendt, The Body, and The Self"


October 6, 2014

“Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of a morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is.”

– E. B. White

Scholar: Ian Storey        Click here to read "Destiny and Democracy"


October 13, 2014

“If, in concluding, we return once more to the discovery of the Archimedean point and apply it, as Kafka warned us not to do, to man himself and to what he is doing on this earth, it at once becomes manifest that all of his activities, watched from a sufficiently removed vantage point in the universe, would appear not as activities of any kind but as processes, so that, as a scientist recently put it, modern motorization would appear like a process of biological mutation in which human bodies gradually begin to be covered by shells of steel.”

--Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 322-3.

Scholar: Jeffrey Champlin         Click here to read "Arendt on Humanity's Cosmic Awareness"

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. you have inspired me too fight for my country ,and then also lookin too politicts in a diffiren wayma’am

  2. Dear Sirs,
    for one of my papers I’d need to use the following quote by HA: By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality.
    May I please kindly ask you to help me, and understand from which work it has been taken?
    Many thanks!
    Very best regards,

    Alberto Cavalli

  3. Can you tell me the source (and hopefully page number) for Arendt’s observation that “The conflict between art and politics… cannot and must not be solved.” Thank you.

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