Hannah Arendt

Germany
14 Oct 1906 // 4 Dec 1975
Political Theorist

Quotes

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War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
Revolutions are the only political events which confront us directly and inevitably with the problem of beginning.

On Revolution
Courage is indispensible because in politics not life but the world is at stake.

Between Past and Future
Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but antipolitical, perhaps the most powerful of all antipolitical forces.

The Human Condition
Caution in handling generally accepted opinions that claim to explain whole trends of history is especially important for the historian of modern times, because the last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.

The Origins of Totalitarianism
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes.
Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.
The common prejudice that love is as common as "romance" may be due to the fact that we all learned about it first through poetry. But the poets fool us; they are the only ones to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.

The Human Condition
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays