The meaning of politics Cover Image

Smisao politike
The meaning of politics

Author(s): Hannah Arendt
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Fakultet političkih znanosti u Zagrebu
Keywords: politics; men; plurality; world; prejudice; faculty of judgment

Summary/Abstract: As opposed to philosophy, theology and natural sciences, for which only the singular Man exists, for political theory the decisive fact is the plurality of men. Politics is preoccupied with common and mutual being of different men. It is created among men and established as their connectedness. Freedom exists only in the authentic interspace of politics. We are saved from that freedom in the “necessity of history”, which is a revolting absurdity. When one wishes in our time to speak about politics, one must start with the prejudice towards it. The prejudice accurately reflect the truly existing contemporary situation precisely in its political aspects, and suggest that we have ended up in a situation in which we do not quite or do not yet know how to move politically. The prejudice towards politics are manifest in the notion that national politics is made up of lies and deception by corrupt interests and corrupt ideology, while foreign politics hovers between hollow propaganda and brute force. This causes a flight into powerlessness, a desperate desire for men in general to be deprived of the freedom to act. Politics is, always and everywhere, preoccupied with illuminating and dissolving prejudice. If one wishes to dissolve prejudice, one must first discover the past judgment contained therein, i.e. actually show their contents of truth. This is the task of the faculty of judgment, but not as mere capability to subject the individual regularly and adequately to the general that corresponds to it and regarding which there is agreement, but as judgment directly and with no standard. The loss of standard, which truly determines the modern world in its facticity and cannot be annulled by any return to the good, old tradition or any arbitrary setting up of new values and standards, is therefore a catastrophe of the moral world only if one presupposes that men would in fact be completely unable to judge things in and of themselves, and that their faculty of judgment is insufficient for original judgment. Politics is always centered on care for the world organized in this or some different way, without which those who care and who are political, think that life is not worth living. Where men come together, the world always breaks through between them, and all human actions take place in this interspace

  • Issue Year: XLIX/2012
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 161-171
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Croatian