By Marilyn LaFay
This paintings positions Arendt as a political author looking for a manner within which humanity, poised among the Holocaust and the atom bomb, could reclaim its place because the creators of a global healthy for human habitation.
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Additional info for Hannah Arendt and the Specter of Totalitarianism
Individuals and individual experience, through the equality of death, become interchangeable with one another. Thus, in her configuration of neighborly love, it is not the concrete manifestation of the neighbor whom we love, but rather, an abstracted and minimized neighbor. It is a neighbor who does not possess individual qualities, nor one who exists in the world: we lose the ability to respect and appreciate the neighbor, for we see him not as a whole being, but only as that part which has the potential to be perfected.
In other words, Arendt makes rigid the cupiditas-caritas dialectic. Gone is the continual return to the desire of material, of lower-order loves, and feeling the need to overcome this. Rather, for Arendt, we move into the love of caritas and recognize and love the similarly situated caritas within the neighbor. Indeed, she even directs us away from considering the neighbor as a material Other, for we are to see the things in the neighbor that he does not see in himself: we see not him-in-himself, but rather, a fantasy of him.
Striking here is that the Self becomes the crucible of the truth of God in the therapeia of Augustine. ” Rather, our coming to terms with this truth, from our perspective in the temporal, material world, is an absolute necessity for gaining access to the truth of God. While The Confessions teaches us that the self is the crucible in which the truth of God can be realized and recognized in this material realm, this can only ever be a partial truth: God remains unknowable in his infinity. An “authentic” love of God, then, must always be fraught with tension, imperfect and incomplete.