Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Finishing The Human Condition

So, it is time to move on from the Human Condition. Monday, rather than Wednesday will be the last chat, 9pm Chicago time.

Tonight's conversation centered around the particular ways Arendt uses words like private and public and how easy it is to start substituting our modern understanding of these words. It took me some time to understand she is dealing with these words much more theoretically and in an isolated format. Her definitions from Greek and Roman debate have to do with ideal states of separation. She is, in many ways pointing out the blurring of the two and the dangers of not noticing this. Yet, I still often, even when reading this, blur them.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

reading time

So, somehow in getting back to the States, I fell of the Arendt wagon. If you are free, let's talk about Action on Wednesday evening at 9pm Chicago time.

We will hold the final Skype meeting the following Wednesday, concluding this wonderful book. I find it odd The Human Condition is not quoted more, more widely discussed, and generally appreciated. I find everything I am reading relates back to Arendt. Not only that, her mixture of simple almost obvious intellectual structures combined with her views and detailed historical support provide a refreshing writing model. Usually, these components are separated, leaving overly diaristic, overly academic narrative, or complex and obtuse theoretical writing.

Basically, this is just a pleasure to read and think about as I go about my day.

Enjoy reading.


Monday, July 21, 2008


The conversation and music were wonderful on Sunday. Some questions that came up that we can consider include:

What is the relationship between violence and labor Arendt talks about in section 17, A Consumer's Society (page 129/130 in the second edition)?

What does Arendt mean when she talks about privacy and in particular how is the labor of the body the most private of the three types of work? Pg 121

We will read through ACTION and Skype on Friday at 6 PM Chicago time.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Second Section of The Human Condition


I hope you are enjoying The Human Condition as much as I am. The next Skype meeting will be on Sunday at 8PM Chicago time. Please read the Labor and Work sections.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Agamben to Arendt

The Human Condition is a nice companion to the State of Exception. Giorgio Agamben’s short book maintains a tight argument. He primarily uses Carl Schmidt’s legal writings and Roman law to uphold the idea that a political and legal no man’s land, the state of exception, where the leader of a constitutional state uses the law to suspend the law has been, if not constant since World War I, the default control strategy. The oddity between how clear and obvious his thesis appears in the introduction and how arcane most of his arguments seem pose a tension between the acutely politically and socially relevant and the seemingly obscure.

The first section of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition on the Realm of the Public and the Realm of Private act a model for the structure and use of early Western Philosophy as a basis for an argument. Where as Arendt’s arguments are broad and work within large categories, types labor, public and private, family and bureaucracy, her theories are supported by the very current, in relation to the publication of the book, or early thought. As she attempts to trace ideas from the past to the present, a logic emerges. The logic is debatable, but it is laid out. Agamben uses his examples as proofs and the writing style is more formal. At times, the two time frames, early law/politics and the current Patriot Act seem too distant. Arendt's more conversational tone seems to provide a model to fill the gap.

I look forward to the next conversation tonight at 8pm Chicago time.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Winding up of State of Excecption and beginning The Human Condition

It is time for a new book, The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt. Read through the section on Public and Private Realms and we will have a Skype meeting on

Sunday night 8pm Chicago time.

We will wrap up State of Exception and open a discussion on the Human Condition.

Happy reading.