Hannah Arendt Quotes

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Hannah Arendt

Mural of Hannah Arendt in Hanover, by graffitos BeneR1 and koarts, based on a photograph by Käthe Fürst
Born (1906-10-14)14 October 1906
Linden, Prussian Hanover, German Empire
(present-day Hanover, Germany)
Died 4 December 1975(1975-12-04) (aged 69)
New York City, United States
Nationality

German (until 1937)
Stateless
United States (from 1951)

Alma mater

University of Marburg
University of Heidelberg
(PhD, 1929)

Website www.hannaharendtcenter.org
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School

Continental philosophy
Existential phenomenology[1]
Philosophy of life[2]
Republicanism

Main interests
Political theory, modernity, philosophy of history
Notable ideas

Homo faber, animal laborans
the labor–work distinction
the banality of evil
distinction between vita activa and vita contemplativa; praxis as the highest level of the vita activa[3]
auctoritas, natality[4]

Poets are the only people to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.
Hannah Arendt
Culture relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world; entertainment relates to people and is a phenomenon of life.
Hannah Arendt
The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.
Hannah Arendt
The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of living well, which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it.
Hannah Arendt
The more dubious and uncertain an instrument violence has become in international relations, the more it has gained in reputation and appeal in domestic affairs, specifically in the matter of revolution.
Hannah Arendt
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
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
Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
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.
Hannah Arendt
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
Hannah Arendt
The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.
Hannah Arendt
To be free in an age like ours, one must be in a position of authority. That in itself would be enough to make me ambitious.
Hannah Arendt
The Third World is not a reality but an ideology.
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
Hannah Arendt
We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance.
Hannah Arendt
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
Hannah Arendt
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
Hannah Arendt
Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless.
The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
Hannah Arendt
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.
Hannah Arendt
Death not merely ends life, it also bestows upon it a silent completeness, snatched from the hazardous flux to which all things human are subject.
Hannah Arendt
Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
Hannah Arendt
This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.
Hannah Arendt
The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.
Hannah Arendt
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up.
Hannah Arendt
By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality.
Hannah Arendt
Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what is given by the senses.
Hannah Arendt
Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.
Hannah Arendt
Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight.
Hannah Arendt
Our tradition of political thought had its definite beginning in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle. I believe it came to a no less definite end in the theories of Karl Marx.
Hannah Arendt
Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse.
No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.
Hannah Arendt
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
Hannah Arendt
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.
Hannah Arendt
Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
Hannah Arendt
Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.
Hannah Arendt
It is my contention that civil disobediences are nothing but the latest form of voluntary association, and that they are thus quite in tune with the oldest traditions of the country.
Hannah Arendt
These are the fifties, you know. The disgusting, posturing fifties.
The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
Hannah Arendt
Economic growth may one day turn out to be a curse rather than a good, and under no conditions can it either lead into freedom or constitute a proof for its existence.
Hannah Arendt