Day 159 — Hannah Arendt

Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance. — Johanna “Hannah” Arendt.

Philosopher Johanna “Hannah” Arendt’s work is a broad spectrum of modern history and politics, primarily focusing on totalitarianism and revolution; on the faculty for human judgment, and how freedom and citizenship should be supported. For Arendt, political power is developed through thought, debate, and discussion, by having checks and balances to ensure that power is in the hands of the people rather than a sole rulers. Following on from the example of the Greek polis, citizens should encourage diverse opinions to be aired, and this reflection on social life creates meaningfulness.

It is the lack of those opportunities for the population that can lead to totalitarianism, and superficial, shallow activities that discourage political awareness. Arendt drew upon Augustine’s idea of natality, the capacity of political action to initiate new beginnings.

Further Resources:

The Political Theory of Hannah Arendt: A Public Intellectual in the Public Square