The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

— Hannah Arendt

The most stunning Hannah Arendt quotes that will add value to your life

The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.

152

When evil is allowed to compete with good, evil has an emotional populist appeal that wins out unless good men and women stand as a vanguard against abuse.

147

Politically, the weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.

143

There is a strange interdependence between thoughtlessness and evil.

113

The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth, and truth be defamed as lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world - and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end - is being destroyed.

108

There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.

95

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.

87

Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

80

What will happen once the authentic mass man takes over, we do not know yet, although it may be a fair guess that he will have more in common with the meticulous, calculated correctness of Himmler than with the hysterical fanaticism of Hitler, will more resemble the stubborn dullness of Molotov than the sensual vindictive cruelty of Stalin.

67

The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.

60

I'm more than ever of the opinion that a decent human existence is possible today only on the fringes of society, where one then runs the risk of starving or being stoned to death. In these circumstances, a sense of humor is a great help.

59

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

58

About Hannah Arendt

Quotes 261 sayings
Nationality German
Profession Historian
Birthday October 16

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

57

[About Eichmann:] It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us - the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.

56

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

50

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.

48

Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.

47

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

42

Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within.

41

Loving life is easy when you are abroad.

Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time

38

All political institutions are manifestations and materializations of power;

they petrify and decay as soon as the living power of the people ceases to uphold them.

36

Rage is by no means an automatic reaction to misery and suffering as such;

no one reacts with rage to an incurable disease or to an earthquake or, for that matter, to social conditions that seem to be unchangeable. Only where there is reason to suspect that conditions could be changed and are not does rage arise.

35

The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility;

he can never admit an error.

32

Without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we could never recover; we would remain the victims of its consequences forever.

29

Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.

28

Nobody is the author or producer of his own life story .

.. somebody began it and is its subject in the twofold sense, namely, its actor and sufferer ... but nobody is the author.

28

It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong, because you can remain the friend of the sufferer; who would want to be the friend of and have to live together with a murderer? Not even another murderer.

27

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.

27

Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history.

24

Although tyranny...may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people.

22

The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the easy life of the gods would be a lifeless life.

20

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.

19

The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.

18

The totalitarian attempt at global conquest and total domination has been the destructive way out of all impasses. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man.

17

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.

17

There is all the difference in the world between the criminal's avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedience's taking the law into his own hands in open defiance. This distinction between an open violation of the law, performed in public, and a clandestine one is so glaringly obvious that it can be neglected only by prejudice or ill will.

16

By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else.

From beauty no road leads to reality.

16

There always comes a point beyond which lying becomes counterproductive.

This point is reached when the audience to which the lies are addressed is forced to disregard altogether the distinguishing line between truth and falsehood in order to be able to survive.

15

Factual truth is always related to other people: it concerns events and circumstances in which many are involved; it is established by witnesses and depends upon testimony; it exists only to the extent that it is spoken about, even if it occurs in the domain of privacy. It is political by nature.

14

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.

13

As citizens, we must prevent wrongdoing because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong sufferer and spectator, is at stake.

13

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.

13

The climax of terror is reached when the police state begins to devour its own children, when yesterday's executioner becomes today's victim.

12

Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.

12

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.

12

The ceaseless, senseless demand for original scholarship in a number of fields, where only erudition is now possible, has led either to sheer irrelevancy, the famous knowing of more and more about less and less, or to the development of a pseudo-scholarship which actually destroys its object.

12

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

11

Culture relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world;

entertainment relates to people and is a phenomenon of life.

11

Thought and action must never part company.

11
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