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Insecurity and vulnerability are the general conditions, as she came to realize, in which an urgently experienced need to think is political, though not, to be sure, in a conventional sense. For the traditional view of politics, which may be summarized as the perceived usefulness of government in securing the people's private interests, is in times of crisis precisely what has failed. In her determination to think through the darkness of the 20th century, Arendt discerned a radically different meaning of politics, whose source was the original clearing, in the midst of a plurality of human beings living, speaking and interacting with one another, of a public space that was brought into existence not for utility but for the sake of human freedom.
Arendt never forgot her foundation in the German language and in German philosophy, particularly in the thought of Immanuel Kant. She was only 14 when she first read Kant, who in the 18th century had also lived in Königsberg and, despite serious controversy with the Prussian autocracy over his teaching of religion, never experienced a need to leave it. The differences in the external circumstances of their lives notwithstanding, Arendt's appreciation of Kant deepened as she grew older. She increasingly came to esteem the subtlety of his philosophically radical distinctions, the role of imagination in his critical philosophy, his equanimity in destroying the shibboleths of metaphysics, and his recognition of human freedom as spontaneity. To her he was more than the philosopher who reconfigured the European tradition by discovering the conditions prior to experience that make experience possible in our knowledge of the world, in our moral conduct and in our capacity to judge the beautiful and sublime. He was present to her -- she used to say she sensed him looking over her shoulder as she wrote -- as the last and greatest champion of humanity and dignity.
To plumb the depths of her fundamental concept of plurality as the essential condition of political life requires some familiarity with her unorthodox approach to Kant. In Kant's late work on aesthetics Arendt discovered the political significance of common sense, the world-orienting sense that both unites what appears to the private senses and fits what is thus united into a common world. That discovery was crucial, for the agreement of common sense realizes a world that lies between human beings, keeping them distinct and relating them, a shared world in which they can appear and be recognized as unique beings. In the last analysis, recognition of human uniqueness is the same thing as equality in freedom, which for Arendt is the raison d'être of political life. Kant not only revealed to Arendt a way of seeing the crisis of the 20th century, i.e., the refusal of totalitarian regimes to share the world with entire races and classes of human beings and, before that, the superfluity of the world-alienated masses who supported those regimes, but also pointed a way to go beyond that crisis by accepting the challenge of restoring a common world.
Arendt met Heinrich Blücher (pictured in photo above with Arendt, ca. 1950) in 1936 in Paris, where he was a non-Jewish political exile, and married him there in 1940. Under his influence, her mind was opened not just to Jewish politics but to the political as such. At the end of World War I, in 1918, Arendt was only 12 years old, but Blücher, seven years her senior, had fought in that war, experienced its devastation and at its conclusion became an active leftist participant in the riots, strikes and street battles that led to the establishment of the German Republic. A member of the Berlin working class who had a limited formal education, Blücher was politically savvy and aware, as Arendt could hardly have been at that time, of the fundamental changes taking place in those postwar political upheavals. Blücher revealed to Arendt a realm of political reality at the core of the actual world, a realm capable of generating human freedom and, when corrupted, human bondage. Although Arendt consistently avoided situating herself on the left, right or center of the political spectrum, Blucher became her political conscience, not only when she wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism, which she dedicated to him, but throughout their life together.
La Libertad de ser libres the freedom to be free is an unpublished essay in which Hannah Arendt reflects on the relevance and the true meaning of the concept of freedom The paper dates from 1967 in the United States but it had not been published in its Spanish version until the summer of 2018 by Taurus publishing house Barcelona Spain In this review I attempt to reflect on the most important political ideas that the author presents in her essay on freedom and revolution starting from comparing the American Revolution and the French Revolution While the former was a great local success the latter was a turning point in history but ended in disaster Hannah Arendt s essay reflects the strength and rigor of her political thought and the need to rethink the concept of revolution with its possibilities and failures and its implications for achieving freedom in public space once in a free society a new beginning is possible which connects with the most pressing challenges of our time
Philosophers have been pondering the notion of freedom for thousands of years. From Thucydides, through to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill and Jean Jacques Rousseau, the concept of freedom has continually been dealt with to some degree in political thought. This is an important concept because we must decide whether individuals are free, whether they should be free, what this means and what kinds of institutions we are to build around these ideas.
If we relate these ideas back to the previous section, the passage about German occupation becomes clearer. Individuals then either collaborated in bad faith, or they resisted in virtue of freedom. Collaborationism is inexcusable for Sartre because he does not consider the threat of an occupier to be an excuse at all. The occupier is the facticity of the situation in which the individual finds himself, but he is still free to make a conscious choice. If this choice is in virtue of freedom, Sartre claims, it will not result in collaborationism. This is when the value of this conception of freedom for political thought becomes clearer. It is an almost virtuous conception of freedom. It is not idealist in that it gives individuals no excuse for their existence and behaviour. Yet it is positive in the sense that it can inspire and empower individuals to own up to their existence and not live like Mathieu in The Age of Reason. 2b1af7f3a8