1906-1975, German-born American Political Philosopher
Action without a name, a ''who'' attached to it, is meaningless.
Hannah Arendt – [Action]
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 – [Death and Dying]
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 – [Economy and Economics]
Freedom from labor itself is not new; it once belonged among the most firmly established privileges of the few. In this instance, it seems as though scientific progress and technical developments had been only taken advantage of to achieve something about which all former ages dreamed but which none had been able to realize.
Hannah Arendt – [Machinery]
If you ask a member of this generation two simple questions: ''How do you want the world to be in fifty years?'' and ''What do you want your life to be like five years from now?'' the answers are quite often preceded by ''Provided there is still a world'' and ''Provided I am still alive.'' To the often-heard question, Who are they, this new generation? one is tempted to answer, Those who hear the ticking. And to the other question, Who are they who utterly deny them? the answer may well be, Those who do not know, or refuse to face, things as they really are.
Hannah Arendt – [Nuclear Age]
Immortality is what nature possesses without effort and without anybody's assistance, and immortality is what the mortals must therefore try to achieve if they want to live up to the world into which they were born, to live up to the things which surround them and to whose company they are admitted for a short while.
Hannah Arendt – [Immortality]
In contrast to revenge, which is the natural, automatic reaction to transgression and which, because of the irreversibility of the action process can be expected and even calculated, the act of forgiving can never be predicted; it is the only reaction that acts in an unexpected way and thus retains, though being a reaction, something of the original character of action.
Hannah Arendt – [Forgiveness]
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 – [Precedents]
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 – [Nonviolence]
Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but anti-political, perhaps the most powerful of all anti-political human forces.
Hannah Arendt – [Love]
Love, by reason of its passion, destroys the in-between which relates us to and separates us from others. As long as its spell lasts, the only in-between which can insert itself between two lovers is the child, love's own product. The child, this in-between to which the lovers now are related and which they hold in common, is representative of the world in that it also separates them; it is an indication that they will insert a new world into the existing world. Through the child, it is as though the lovers return to the world from which their love had expelled them. But this new worldliness, the possible result and the only possibly happy ending of a love affair, is, in a sense, the end of love, which must either overcome the partners anew or be transformed into another mode of belonging together.
Hannah Arendt – [Family]
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 – [Necessity]
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 – [Causes]
No civilization would ever have been possible without a framework of stability, to provide the wherein for the flux of change. Foremost among the stabilizing factors, more enduring than customs, manners and traditions, are the legal systems that regulate our life in the world and our daily affairs with each other.
Hannah Arendt – [Law and Lawyers]
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 – [Crime and Criminals]
Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what we are given by the senses.
Hannah Arendt – [Words]
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 – [Totalitarianism]
Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists, there may be moods –moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former –but no opinion.
Hannah Arendt – [Opinions]
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 – [Violence]
Predictions of the future are never anything but projections of present automatic processes and procedures, that is, of occurrences that are likely to come to pass if men do not act and if nothing unexpected happens; every action, for better or worse, and every accident necessarily destroys the whole pattern in whose frame the prediction moves and where it finds its evidence.
Hannah Arendt – [Prediction]