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"The Public and the Private Realm"

"The Human Condition, ch.2" by Hannah Arendt
"The Public and the Private Realm"

Language shift
  • "Political" & "social" first confused in language when term translated from Greek to Latin
  • Thoroughly confused w. Christianity and Aquinas "homo est naturaliter politicus, id est, socialis" (p.23)
  • Aquinas mistakenly compares kingship to the pater familias, thus confusing political rule with household management (p.27)
  • Modern language confuses "politics" with "economics", ie. "political economy" (p.28)
  • The non-political activities concerned with survival of the species (ie. household management) thereby come to eclipse the political (public) realm.

  • Formerly, no respect of property in modern sense, rather knowledge that the household was the necessary pre-condition for participation in the world (p.30)

  • Hierarchical (p.31); slavery, rulership, division of labour, economic
  • Associated with "privation" (p.38)
  • Concerned with survival (p.30)
  • Considered beneath the political (p.31)
  • A necessary pre-condition to be transcended when and as much as possible (p.31)
  • Cyclical labour, cyclical gods of the underworld (ie. Hades) who drive the life-death process (p.30).
  • Life itself threatened where necessity eliminated (p.70-71); intimately tied together, eliminates distinction between freedom and necessity.
  • Lack of privacy, of shelter from public, of a darkness to rise from, results in shallowness (p.71)
  • Critique of modern, capitalist, private property arguments (p.72)
  • Women and slaves hidden due to their labouring for the sake of bodily processes/functions, functions which must be hidden (p.72)
  • Private/public; necessity/freedom; futility/permanence; shame/honour (p.73)

  • Isonomia (p.32); freedom from rulership, from being ruled, and from necessity
  • Not concerned with survival, there one braved death (p.35-36)
  • Transcended the biological life process (p.37)
  • For the sake of the "good life", eudaimonia, not the sake of biological life (p.37).
  • Associated with appearance, which "for us" constitutes reality (p.50)
  • Pain (p.51); subjectivity, defies appearance
  • Twilight of the private depends on the light of the public (p.51)
  • Relevant->public; irrelevant->private (p.51)
  • Love->private; friendship->public (p.52)
  • Irrelevance, charm of small things "petits bonheurs" of the private, symptom of the retreat of the public (p.52)
  • When the world loses it power to gather (p.53), world-gathering
  • Christian charity as a different gathering-call (p.53), worldless-gathering
  • Associated with immortality (p.55)
  • Immortality now associated with the vice of vanity (p.56)
  • Immortality requalified by Smith/society as another desire/pain to be dealt with (p.56)
  • The problem of worldless/spaceless public administration; futile (p.56)
  • Objectivity through many perspectives (p.57)
  • The loss of plural perspective (p.58); trapped in subjectivity
  • Social -- Conformity (p.39); requires members to act as if they were part of one enormous family
  • Excludes action (p.40)
  • Bureaucracy is "the most social form of government" (p.40)
  • No-man rule, rulership w/o a personality (to incarnate or represent it) (p.40)
  • The arising of intimacy in reaction to the loss of the public as a theatre for individuality (p.38-41)
  • Humans equated with their social status (p.41); semi-feudal, restrictive, mass-society, equalizes and controls all equally.
  • Economics presupposes society (conformity and behaviour; economics requires stats, stats require few deviations (p.42)
  • Society/stats require large numbers, politics requires small numbers (p.43)
  • Liberalism, like communism, assumes "one interest of society as a whole" (p.44)
  • Rise of the behavioural sciences for the sake of expanding behaviour beyond economics (p.45)
  • Rise of society channels the life cycle/process into the public realm and exposes the private (p.45)
  • Society of "labourers and jobholders" who consider what they do to be about sustaining their lives (p.46)
  • Rise of society results in "un-natural growth" of the natural, which consumes the private, intimate, and political (p.47)
  • Rise in "excellence" of public labour opposed to decline in excellence of public action and speech, which have been banished to the private and intimate (p.49); explainable as a phenomenon that requires both man and world, not mere psychology.

The Location of Human Activities
  • Jesus and the hiddeness of goodness and good deeds (p.73-74)
  • The Talmud's 36 good-men, for whom God saves the world, and who are known only to Him (p.75)
  • The impossibility of being good; the impossibility of being wise; "turn the other cheek", etc... (p.75)
  • Goodness must flee all appearance (p.75)
  • On Machiavelli vs. Good, for the sake of the public (p.76).

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