Hannah Arendt quotes

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Hannah Arendt

Birthdate: 14. October 1906
Date of death: 4. December 2004
Other names: Hannah Arendtová

Johanna "Hannah" Arendt was a German-born American political theorist. Her 18 books and numerous articles, ranging from works on totalitarianism to thinking and judging, greatly influence political philosophy to this day. Arendt is widely considered one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century.

She escaped from Germany during the Holocaust, becoming an American citizen. Her works deal with the nature of power and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism. The Hannah Arendt Prize is named in her honor.

Works

The Human Condition
The Human Condition
Hannah Arendt
On Violence
On Violence
Hannah Arendt
Men in Dark Times
Men in Dark Times
Hannah Arendt
Rahel Varnhagen
Rahel Varnhagen
Hannah Arendt
On Revolution
On Revolution
Hannah Arendt

Quotes Hannah Arendt

„The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i. e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i. e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.“

—  Hannah Arendt, book The Origins of Totalitarianism

Part 3, Ch. 13, § 3.
Source: On the subject the ideal subjects for a totalitarian authority. Source: The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951. As quoted by Scroll Staff (December 04, 2017): Ideas in literature: Ten things Hannah Arendt said that are eerily relevant in today’s political times https://web.archive.org/web/20191001213756/https://scroll.in/article/856549/ten-things-hannah-arendt-said-that-are-eerily-relevant-in-todays-political-times. In: Scroll.in. Archived from the original https://scroll.in/article/856549/ten-things-hannah-arendt-said-that-are-eerily-relevant-in-todays-political-times on October 1, 2019.

„Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.“

—  Hannah Arendt, book The Origins of Totalitarianism

Source: On the subject “alternate facts”. Source: The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951. As quoted by Scroll Staff (December 04, 2017): Ideas in literature: Ten things Hannah Arendt said that are eerily relevant in today’s political times https://web.archive.org/web/20191001213756/https://scroll.in/article/856549/ten-things-hannah-arendt-said-that-are-eerily-relevant-in-todays-political-times. In: Scroll.in. Archived from the original https://scroll.in/article/856549/ten-things-hannah-arendt-said-that-are-eerily-relevant-in-todays-political-times on October 1, 2019.

„The totalitarian attempt at global conquest and total domination has been the destructive way out of all impasses. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man.“

—  Hannah Arendt, book The Origins of Totalitarianism

Preface to the first edition, written in the summer of 1950.
The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)
Context: The totalitarian attempt at global conquest and total domination has been the destructive way out of all impasses. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man. Yet to turn our backs on the destructive forces of the century is of little avail.
The trouble is that our period has so strangely intertwined the good with the bad that without the imperialists' "expansion for expansion's sake," the world might never have become one; without the bourgeoisie's political device of "power for power's sake," the extent of human strength might never have been discovered; without the fictitious world of totalitarian movements, in which with unparalleled clarity the essential uncertainties of our time have been spelled out, we might have been driven to our doom without ever becoming aware of what has been happening.
And if it is true that in the final stages of totalitarianism an absolute evil appears (absolute because it can no longer be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives), it is also true that without it we might never have known the truly radical nature of Evil.

„The concentration camps, by making death itself anonymous (making it impossible to find out whether a prisoner is dead or alive), robbed death of its meaning as the end of a fulfilled life.“

—  Hannah Arendt, book The Origins of Totalitarianism

Part 3, Ch. 12, § 3.
The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)
Context: The concentration camps, by making death itself anonymous (making it impossible to find out whether a prisoner is dead or alive), robbed death of its meaning as the end of a fulfilled life. In a sense they took away the individual’s own death, proving that henceforth nothing belonged to him and he belonged to no one. His death merely set a seal on the fact that he had never existed.

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„Persecution of powerless or power-losing groups may not be a very pleasant spectacle, but it does not spring from human meanness alone.“

—  Hannah Arendt, book The Origins of Totalitarianism

Part 1, Ch. 1, § 1.
The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)
Context: Persecution of powerless or power-losing groups may not be a very pleasant spectacle, but it does not spring from human meanness alone. What makes men obey or tolerate real power and, on the other hand, hate people who have wealth without power, is the rational instinct that power has a certain function and is of some general use. Even exploitation and oppression still make society work and establish some kind of order. Only wealth without power or aloofness without a policy are felt to be parasitical, useless, revolting, because such conditions cut all the threads which tie men together. Wealth which does not exploit lacks even the relationship which exists between exploiter and exploited; aloofness without policy does not imply even the minimum concern of the oppressor for the oppressed.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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