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44 Hannah Arendt Quotes on Politics and Philosophy

Hannah Arendt once said that in a society where people are not informed, where misinformation rules, a totalitarian or any dictator can rule with ease. Today, more than 40 years after her death, these words sound like a warning in a world ruled more and more by divisive ideologies.

Arendt was born in a German Jews Family in Germany in 1906. She studied philosophy together with Martin Heidegger at the University of Marburg. They both developed a romantic relationship. Their relationship did not survive, and Arendt was later troubled and saddened by Heidegger’s support for the National Socialist movement. Hannah Arendt obtained her PhD from the University of Heidelberg where she researched on the concept of love in the thought of Saint Augustine.

In 1933, Hannah Arendt fled Germany after Hitler came into power. She first landed in Czechoslovakia. Afterwards she moved to Geneva and worked at the League of Nations. She then moved to Paris, and in 1937 the Nazis eradicated her German citizenship. Arendt became stateless. In 1941, she escaped to New York where she held various positions

Hannah Arendt contributed enormously to the field of philosophy and politics. Her works on topics such as totalitarianism, communism, the human condition and society brought her acclaim from all over the world.

Today, as our world is experiencing gaslighting, the manipulation of truth and the rise of alternative facts, Arendt words of caution can illuminate our understanding of falsehood.

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Hannah Arendt Quotes

 

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.

Hannah Arendt

The Third World is not a reality but an ideology.

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

There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.

Hannah Arendt

These are the fifties, you know. The disgusting, posturing fifties.

Hannah Arendt

This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.

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

Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.

Hannah Arendt

Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.

Hannah Arendt

War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.

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

Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.

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

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

Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what is given by the senses.

Hannah Arendt

In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.

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

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

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

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

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

By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality.

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

Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless.

Hannah Arendt

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.

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

Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

Hannah Arendt

The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.

Hannah Arendt

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

The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.

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

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.

Hannah Arendt

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

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