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There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
2407
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Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
2351
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Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
2295
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The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
2239
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Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
2183
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War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
2126
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Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless.
2070
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Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
2014
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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.
1958
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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.
1902
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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.
1741
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Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by 'a world of enemies' - 'one against all' - and that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.
241
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The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
197
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Politically, the weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.
193
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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.
192
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This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.
185
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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.
147
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One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.
144
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The greatest enemy of authority, therefore, is contempt, and the surest way to undermine it is laughter.
143
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This inability to think created the possibility for many ordinary men to commit evil deeds on a gigantic scale, the like of which had never been seen before. The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge but the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly. And I hope that thinking gives people the strength to prevent catastrophes in these rare moments when the chips are down.
141
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The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.
137
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There is a strange interdependence between thoughtlessness and evil. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
There is a strange interdependence between thoughtlessness and evil.
133
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the public sphere is as consistently based on the law of equality as the private sphere is based on the law of universal difference and differentiation. Equality, in contrast to all that is involved in mere existence, is not given us, but is the result of human organization insofar as it is guided by the principle of justice. We are not born equal; we become equal as members of a group on the strength of our decision to guarantee ourselves mutually equal rights.
122
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Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
111
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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.
103
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Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable.
102
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It is indeed my opinion now that evil is never “radical,” that it is only extreme, and that it possess neither depth nor any demonic dimension. It can overgrow and lay waste the whole world precisely because it spreads like fungus on the surface. It is “thought-defying,” as I said, because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing. That is its “banality.” Only the good has depth and can be radical.
92
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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.
92
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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.
91
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The history of humanity is not a hotel where someone can rent a room whenever it suits him; nor is it a vehicle which we board or get out of at random. Our past will be for us a burden beneath which we can only collapse for as long as we refuse to understand the present and fight for a better future. Only then — but from that moment on — will the burden become a blessing, that is, a weapon in the battle for freedom.
85
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The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.
80
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[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.
78
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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.
77
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Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.
74
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The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world.
71
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Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.
69
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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.
67
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The chief reason warfare is still with us is neither a secret death-wish of the human species, nor an irrepressible instinct of aggression, nor, finally and more plausibly, the serious economic and social dangers inherent in disarmament, but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.
67
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Men in plural […] can experience meaningfulness only because they can talk with and make sense to each other and themselves.
67
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Slavery's crime against humanity did not begin when one people defeated and enslaved its enemies (though of course this was bad enough), but when slavery became an institution in which some men were 'born' free and others slave, when it was forgotten that it was man who had deprived his fellow-men of freedom, and when the sanction for the crime was attributed to nature.
63
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Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.
62
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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.
55
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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
52
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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.
51
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To think and to be fully alive are the same. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
To think and to be fully alive are the same.
48
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I'm completely against [feminism]. I have no desire to give up my privileges. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
I'm completely against [feminism]. I have no desire to give up my privileges.
48
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In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
48
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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.
47
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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.
41
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The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.
40
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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.
40
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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.
40
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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.
38
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Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it.
37
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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.
37
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Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history.
33
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We are free to change the world and start something new in it. - Hannah Arendt Quotes
We are free to change the world and start something new in it.
32
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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.
30
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Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together. When we say of somebody that he is 'in power' we actually refer to his being empowered by a certain number of people to act in their name. The moment the group, from which the power originated to begin with ... disappears, 'his power' also vanishes.
29
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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.
28
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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.
28
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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.
26
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If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to 'demand' its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant.
26
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If the ability to tell right from wrong should turn out to have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to "demand" its exercise from every sane person, no matter how erudite or ignorant, intelligent or stupid, he may happen to be. Kant in this respect almost alone among the philosophers was much bothered by the common opinion that philosophy is only for the few, precisely because of its moral implications.
25
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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.
23
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... we have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their bundance. Whatever we do, we are supposed to do for the sake of "making a living;" such is the verdict of society, and the number of people, especially in the professions who might challenge it, has decreased rapidly. The only exception society is willing to grant is to the artist, who, strictly speaking, is the only "worker" left in a laboring society.
23
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The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
23
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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.
23
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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.
23
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What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing
22
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When we think of a criminal, we imagine someone with criminal motives. And when we look at Eichmann, he doesn't actually have any criminal motives. Not what is usually understood by "criminal motives." He wanted to go along with the rest. He wanted to say "we," and going-along-with-the-rest and wanting-to-say-we like this were quite enough to make the greatest of all crimes possible. The Hitlers, after all, really aren't the ones who are typical in this kind of situation--they'd be powerless without the support of others.
22
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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.
22
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If we don't know our own history, we are deemed to live it.
22
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where everybody is guilty, nobody is.
21
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Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.
21
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To expect truth to come from thinking signifies that we mistake the need to think with the urge to know.
21
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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.
19
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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.
19
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By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality.
19
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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.
18
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