“The Human Condition” by Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt is the writer of the book The Human Condition. In this book, she analyzes the fundamental aspects of human life and development. To do this, she uses the ancient Athenian Greek’s way of life to do the explanation. The book goes ahead to explain three important activities in life. These are: work, labor, and action. Hannah Arendt then uses four possible concepts to describe the above activities. These realms are: the social, the political, the public and the private one. Later she uses these points of view to criticize the modern world’s way of life.
Arendt defines work as the artificial aspect that human existence depends on, labor as the biological aspect that defines life and action as the activity that eventually leads to the permanence of human existence. In this book, the public realm is one in which real freedom can be achieved. This realm exhibits the great deeds. These achievements are, however, in favor of only the dominant member of a family, particularly the man. In the old days, only men had the freedom to meet in public and discus the issues. This can only happen in the absence of the other constraints that only exist in private.
The private realm, Arendt explains that it takes place when work and labor are at play. It is private due to the fact that humans are normally n their natural state at this instant. Humans are also normally in touch with their biological instincts. This whole process marks the very core of human existence which eventually forms the private realm. This realm is quite different from the public one. This is due to the fact that the social standards and the way of life were made from the private thoughts. The public realm only gives power to the predominant member of the family, thus neglecting the contributions of the other members of the society.
The polis realm is the sphere of freedom. There is no one ruling over the other. It asserts that freedom of a society requires and justifies the restraints of the political authority. The household realm is where men live together. These people are driven by their wants and other needs. The survival of the species in this realm also depends on the activities of the others. For instance, a man has a responsibility of providing for the family. The mother has a responsibility of giving birth. It is therefore driven by necessity.
These two realms are different as the polis provided the freedom as a platform for equality. On the side of household, inequality is at play as to be free means that one is free from the rule of another. Freedom only comes when there are no rules over the other. In household realm, there exists a hierarchy of responsibiilities with each member of the family with a task to fulfill.
Polis is good in the encouragement of a good life. However, it encourages and justifies violence as a means of removing the necessity of life. It remains a fact that human beings have necessities, thus making them always be unequal. Polis therefore promotes violence as a means of gaining freedom from inequalities.
In the modern world, Hannah Arendt believes that things have greatly changed. Behavior has replaced action and great words as the mode of human relationship as it was during the Greek cities. She also asserts that the major changes in the scientific world have arisen from the ancient philosophies. These have evolved with time to come with the current changes. The modern world is, however, different in the roles of the private and public spheres are oriented.
Finally, it is worth noting that the modern American society is oriented towards the private than public. This society is a reverse of the Arendt’s view. People are majorly concerned with the building of the private life than in the public display. Her definition of freedom is not valid in the current society. Conversation still plays an important task in the political arena. It brings out the healthy debates on how to tackle issues that affect human life.