The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt

| July 7, 2010

Men in the plural, that is, men in so far as they live and move and act in this world, can experience meaningfulness only because they can talk with and make sense to each other and to themselves. (p. 4)

It is a society of laborers which is about to be liberated from the fetters of labor, and this society does no longer know of those other higher and more meaningful activities for the sake of which this freedom would deserve to be won. (p. 5)

What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing. (p. 5)

In addition to the conditions under which life is given to man on earth, and partly out of them, men constantly create their own, self-made conditions, which, their human origin and their variability notwithstanding, possess the same conditioning power as natural things. (p. 9)

In other words, if we have a nature or essence, then surely only a god could know and define it, and the first prerequisite would be that he be able to speak about a ‘who’ as though it were a ‘what.’ (p. 10)

This individual life is distinguished from all other things by the rectilinear course of its movement, which, so to speak, cuts through the circular movement of biological life.  This is mortality: to move along a rectilinear line in a universe where everything, if it moves at all, moves in a cyclical order. (p. 19)

Text: http://www.scribd.com/doc/7169011/Hanna-Arendt-The-Human-Condition