Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Denver D’Silva sdb & Roshan Kullu sdb
: On January 16, 2010 the FYMPh brothers of Divyadaan, Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik organized the annual symposium on ‘Hannah Arendt: A Contemporary Political Philosopher.’ It commenced with a prayer invoking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A brief life sketch of Hannah Arendt was presented to the audience. She (Hannah Arendt) was a German Jewess who was forced to flee Germany in the midst of the Anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis. She settled in New York where she began her career as a writer and a lecturer. The focus of her philosophy was the activities of the human person in society and their external and internal conditions. The speakers of the day were Cl. William D’Souza SDB (INK), Cl. Selvakumar Arockiasamy SDB (INT), and Cl. Aneesh Chacko SDB (INN). Cl. Roshan Kullu SDB (INC) was the moderator for the day. The symposium was organised under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Ivo Coelho and Rev. Fr. Robert Pen. It was attended by most of the local religious communities around the place.

The speakers spoke on the three most important works of Hannah Arendt which characterized her philosophy, namely “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951), “The Human Condition” (1955), and “The Life of the Mind” (1972). The presentation emphasized that ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’ have its background in the Nazi regime and Stalinism. It puts forward the ideology of totalitarianism that was characterized by the reign of terror. Hannah Arendt presents a realistic critique of totalitarianism according to which totalitarianism was not from external sources acting on the society but was self-inflicted along with the destruction of human plurality.

In ‘The Human Condition’ Hannah Arendt inquires into the root of democracy and political philosophy of ancient Greece to save the modern world which was declining in efficiency and vigour. She proposed a phenomenological reconstruction of our activities so as to discern and engage in a type of action that corresponds to the present state of political life. There are three types of activities (Vita Activa): Action, Work and Labour. These three in turn are connected to different areas of human life, namely, Action and the public realm; Work and the social realm; Labour and the private realm.

The third book ‘The Life of the Mind’ stressed that Hannah wanted to provide a complete account of all the faculties of the mind namely, ‘Thinking,’ ‘Willing,’ and ‘Judging.’ Her demise left the third volume on ‘Judgment’ incomplete. Hannah shows how in the times past to the present, the activities of the mind have prevented philosophers from being comfortably at home in the world. She admirably depicts how the homelessness of the mind has led them to answer, ever anew, such questions about ourselves as: “What makes us think?” and “Where are we when we think?” But Hannah does not want merely to have the history of these faculties. Her aim was to show how the mind affects itself, “regardless of outside events, thus creating a kind of life of the mind.”

After having presented the thought and philosophy of Hannah Arendt to the audience the floor was left open for clarifications and questions. The questions and answers were pretty satisfactory. When the day was done the FYMPh brothers felt contented as the symposium was well responded and appreciated. The session ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Cl. Roshan Kullu.

1 comment:

Ludwik Kowalski said...


Please share this link with those who might be interested.


P.S. The book is waiting for a reviewer