Revolutionaries do not make revolutions! The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.
Hannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt (1989) Thoughts on Politics and Revolution: A Commentary
It is, in fact, far easier to act under conditions of tyranny than it is to think.Hannah ArendtThe Human Condition (1958)
Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.Hannah ArendtMen in Dark Times (1968)
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.Hannah ArendtThe New Yorker (12 September 1970)
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.Hannah ArendtThe Life of the Mind (1978), "Thinking"
I've begun so late, really only in recent years, to truly love the world... Out of gratitude, I want to call my book on political theories Amor Mundi .Hannah ArendtSpeaking of her book The Human Condition, as quoted in Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (2004) by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, p. xxiv
The cultural treasures of the past, believed to be dead, are being made to speak, in the course of which it turns out that they propose things altogether different than what had been thought.Hannah Arendt"Martin Heidegger at Eighty," in Heidegger and Modern Philosophy: Critical Essays (1978) by Michael Murray, p. 294
The case of the conscience of Eichmann, which is admittedly complicated but is by no means unique, is scarcely comparable to the case of the German generals, one of whom, when asked at Nuremberg, "How was it possible that all of you honorable generals could continue to serve a murderer with such unquestioning loyalty?," replied that it was "not the task of a soldier to act as judge over his supreme commander. Let history do that or God in Heaven."Hannah ArendtCh. VIII (Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963))
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 ArendtEpilogue (Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963))
The chief reason warfare is still with us is neither a secret death-wish of the human species, nor an irrepressible instinct of aggression, nor, finally and more plausibly, the serious economic and social dangers inherent in disarmament, but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.Hannah Arendt"On Violence"
For the trouble with lying and decieving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide. In this sense, truth, even if it does not prevail in public, possesses an ineradicable primacy over all falsehoods.Hannah Arendt"Lying in Politics"
Metaphysical fallacies contain the only clues we have to what thinking means to those who engage in it.Hannah Arendtp. 12 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
If...the ability to tell right from wrong should turn out to have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to "demand" its exercise from every sane person, no matter how erudite or ignorant, intelligent or stupid, he may happen to be. Kant in this respect almost alone among the philosophers was much bothered by the common opinion that philosophy is only for the few, precisely because of its moral implications.Hannah Arendtp. 13 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
Kant ... was also quite aware that "the urgent need" of reason is both different from and "more than mere quest and desire for knowledge." Hence, the distinguishing of the two faculties, reason and intellect, coincides with a distinction between two altogether different mental activities, thinking and knowing.Hannah Arendtp. 14 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
Kant ... stated defensively that he had "found it necessary to deny knowledge. . . to make room for faith," but he had not made room for faith; he had made room for thought, and he had not "denied knowledge" but separated knowledge from thinking.Hannah Arendtp. 14 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
The need of reason is not inspired by the quest for truth but by the quest for meaning. And truth and meaning are not the same. The basic fallacy , taking precedence over all specific metaphysical fallacies, is to interpret meaning on the model of truth.Hannah Arendtp. 15 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
The emotions I feel are no more meant to be shown in their unadulterated state than the inner organs by which we live.Hannah Arendtpp. 31-32 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
If the inner psychic ground of our individual appearance were not always the same, there could be no science of psychology, which qua science relies on a psychic “inside we are all alike,” just as the science of physiology and medicine relies on the sameness of our inner organs. ... The monstrous sameness and pervasive ugliness so highly characteristic of the findings of modern psychology, and contrasting so obviously with the enormous variety and richness of overt human conduct, witness to the radical difference between the inside and the outside of the human body.Hannah Arendtpp. 34-35 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
To expect truth to come from thinking signifies that we mistake the need to think with the urge to know.Hannah Arendtp. 61 (The Life of the Mind (1971/1978))
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions! The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.Hannah ArendtHannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt (1989) Thoughts on Politics and Revolution: A Commentary
Manipulations of opinion, insofar as they are inspired by well-defined interests, have limited goals; their effect, however, if they happen to touch upon an issue of authentic concern, is no longer subject to their control and may easily produce consequences they never foresaw or intended.Hannah ArendtHannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), Postscript to the revised (1965) edition
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 ArendtHannah Arendt, Crises of the Republic (1969), "Civil Disobedience".
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