2 de abril de 2017

70 tweets from “The Human Condition” (by Hannah Arendt)

  1. Matters of practical politics, subject to the agreement of many never lie in theoretical considerations or the opinion of one person (5)
  2. Plurality is the condition of human action (8)
  3. We are all the same, that is, human, in such a way that nobody is ever the same as anyone else who ever lived, lives, or will live (8)
  4. Finding the right words at the right moment, quite apart from the information or communication they may convey, is action (26)
  5. A man who lived only a private life, who like the slave was not permitted to enter the public realm, or like the barbarian had chosen not to establish such a realm, was not fully human (38)
  6. For us, appearance —something that is being seen and heard by others as well as by ourselves— constitutes reality (50)
  7. There are very relevant matters which can survive only in the realm of the private (51)
  8. Love, in distinction from friendship, is killed, or rather extinguished, the moment it is displayed in public (51)
  9. The world relates and separates men at the same time (52)
  10. Public admiration is consumed by individual vanity as food is consumed by hunger (56)
  11. Public admiration and monetary reward are of the same nature and can become substitutes for each other (56)
  12. Everybody sees and hears from a different position (57)
  13. To live an entirely private life means above all to be deprived of things essential to a truly human life (58)
  14. Roman people, unlike the Greeks, never sacrificed the private to the public, but on the contrary understood that these two realms could exist only in the form of coexistence (59)
  15. The disappearance of the public realm should be accompanied by the threatened liquidation of the private realm as well (61)
  16. A life spent entirely in public, in the presence of others, becomes, as we would say, shallow (71)
  17. There are things that need to be hidden and others that need to be displayed publicly if they are to exist at all (73)
  18. The man who is in love with goodness can never afford to lead a solitary life (76)
  19. Without remembrance and without the reification (...) the living activities of action, speech, and thought would lose their reality at the end of each process and disappear as though they never had been (95)
  20. We are surrounded by things more permanent than the activity by which they were produced, and potentially even more permanent than the lives of their authors (96)
  21. What makes the effort painful is no danger but its relentless repetition (101)
  22. The artist, strictly speaking, is the only “worker” left in a laboring society (127)
  23. Fabrication, the work of homo faber, consist in reification (139)
  24. To have a definite beginning and a definite, predictable end is the mark of fabrication (143)
  25. In a society of laborers, tools are very likely to assume a more than mere instrumental character or function (145)
  26. Utility established as meaning generates meaninglessness (154)
  27. Value is the quality a thing can never possess in privacy but acquires automatically the moment it appears in public (164)
  28. Because of their outstanding permanence, works of art are the most intensely worldly of all tangible things (167)
  29. Something immortal achieved by mortal hands, has become tangibly present, to shine and to be seen, to sound and to be heard, to speak and to be read #art (168)
  30. Poetry, whose material is language, is perhaps the most human and least worldly of the arts, the one in which the end product remains closest to the thought that inspired it (169)
  31. Of all things of thought, poetry is closest to thought, and poem is less a thing that any other work of art (170)
  32. The measure of things can be neither the driving necessity of biological life and labor nor the utilitarian instrumentalism of fabrication and usage (174)
  33. Isak Dinesen: “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them” (175)
  34. If men were not equal, they could neither understand each other and those who came before them nor plan for the future and foresee the needs of those who will come after them (175)
  35. If men were not distinct, each human being distinguished from any other who is, was or will ever be, they would need neither speech nor action to make themselves understood (176)
  36. Human plurality is the paradoxical plurality of unique beings (176)
  37. Speech and action are the modes in which human beings appear to each other, not indeed as physical objects, but qua men (176)
  38. With word and deed, we insert ourselves into the human world, and this is like a second birth (176)
  39. The distinction between a real and fictional story is precisely that the later was “made up” and the former not made at all (186)
  40. The foundation of cities (…) is the most important material prerequisite for power (201)
  41. The acting and speaking together is the condition of all forms of political organization (202)
  42. It is an indispensable element of human pride to believe that who somebody is transcends in greatness and importance anything he can do and produce (211)
  43. This attempt to replace acting with making is manifest in the whole body of arguments against “democracy” (220)
  44. No man can be sovereign because not one man, but men, inhabit the earth (234)
  45. The discoverer of the role of forgiveness in the realm of human affairs was Jesus of Nazareth (238)
  46. Forgiveness is the exact opposite of vengeance, which acts in the form of re-acting against an original trespassing (240)
  47. Forgiving is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly (…) freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven (241)
  48. The freedom contained in Jesus’ teaching of forgiveness is the freedom from vengeance (241)
  49. Only love has the power to forgive (242)
  50. Love (…) is not only apolitical but antipolitical, perhaps the most powerful of all antipolitical human forces (242)
  51. The only in-between which can insert itself between two lovers is the child, love’s own product (242)
  52. What love is in its own, narrowly circumscribed sphere, respect is in the larger domain of human affairs (243)
  53. Respect is a kind of “friendship” without intimacy and without closeness (243)
  54. Respect is independent of qualities which we may admire or of achievements which we may highly esteem (243)
  55. The modern loss of respect (…) constitutes a clear symptom of the increasing depersonalization of public and social life (243)
  56. It is through the conscious cessation of activity, the activity of making, that the contemplative state is reached (303)
  57. Secularization (…) from a religious point of view implies a return to the early Christian attitude of “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” rather than a loss of faith and transcendence (253)
  58. Not ideas but events change the world (273)
  59. The author of the decisive event of the modern age is Galileo rather than Descartes (273)
  60. The modern cardinal virtues —success, industry, and truthfulness— are at the same time the greatest virtues of modern science (278)
  61. Scientist [today] formulate their hypotheses to arrange their experiments and then use these experiments to verify their hypotheses; they deal with a hypothetical nature (287)
  62. The world of the experiment (…) puts man back into the prison of his own mind, into the limitations of patterns he himself has created (288)
  63. Thought and contemplation are not the same (291)
  64. After Descartes based his own philosophy upon the discoveries of Galileo, philosophy has seemed condemned to be always one step behind the scientist (294)
  65. Philosophy suffered more from modernity than any other field of human endeavor (294)
  66. Fabrication now came to occupy a rank formerly held by political action (301)
  67. The beautiful and eternal cannot be made (303)
  68. The ultimate standard of measurement is not usage at all, but “happiness”, that is, the amount of pain and pleasure experienced in the production or in the consumption of things (309)
  69. The principle of all hedonism is not pleasure but avoidance of pain (309)
  70. Only when the immortality of individual life became the central creed of Western mankind (…) did life on earth also become the highest good of man (316)
  71. Cato: “Never is he more active than when he does nothing, never is he less alone than when he is by himself” (154)

Hannah Arendt
The Human Condition
The University of Chicago Press
Chicago, 1998 
(original 1958)
349 pages

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