Showcase: Hannah Arendt and the crisis of authority

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a German-American philosopher and political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a considerable influence on political theory. Arendt is widely considered one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century.

Is reading Arendt today helpful to explain the crisis of all types of authorities in today’s world?

“In her anthology Crises of the Republic, consisting of four essays, “Lying in Politics”, “Civil Disobedience”, “On Violence” and “Thoughts on Politics and Revolution”, she studies the contemporary American politics and the crises it faced in the 1960s and 1970s. “Lying in Politics” (which is one of the main criteria of politics as said by Nicolas Machiavelli) looks for an explanation behind the administration’s deception regarding the Vietnam War, as revealed in the Pentagon Papers.  “Civil Disobedience” examines the opposition movements, while the final “Thoughts on Politics and Revolution” is a commentary, in the form of an interview on the third essay, “On Violence”. In the latter, Arendt declares that violence presupposes power which she understands as a property of groups”.

This anthology sums up the reasons why politics have failed to trust it in general. Adding to lying and violence, social media and mass communication brought systems down. Being States in States, social media sites and platforms are transnational, dismantling frontiers and old values. Demystification and opinions rage, followed by civil disobedience, lead to crises in democracies and Republics.

Authority has never been more fragile.  

 

The 20th century, the revenge.

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Atrocities everywhere: Afghanistan, the Middle East, climate change, cancel culture, violence, crisis on a global scale raise the question and skepticism about liberal democracies, New World Order, international organizations, multinationals, capitalism and in general, world politics and economics.

Are we forever stuck in the 20th century?

Main ideas and global political systems are still the same but with different tools. However, the world is in a new era. Logically speaking, using the same old methods for new encounters can only lead to the same mistakes but more complicated.

The 21st century, as aforementioned, has different problems, some of them are residue of the 20th century ideas and systems, a sort of continuum of the same disasters. Other issues are purely 21st century made. Isn’t it time to find new solutions before there is no turning back? Isn’t it time to create new fair systems of social justice?

Self compassion is not compatible with perfection.

The individualistic competitive world today forced us to be ambitious, sometimes ruthless and over demanding with ourselves. Everyone wants the perfect life, the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect body… It is a vicious circle of compulsions.

This mindset couldn’t be further than the truth. Perfection is an advertised ideal concept to keep people busy face down; while progress is realistic and compassionate.

Global politics and capitalistic ideology promote perfection because it makes people narrow minded and enslaved. Not a better way to pay taxes and keep away from troubles.

However this illusion is a source of deadly stress, depression, low self esteem and resentment.

Is it strange that everybody is miserable?

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Thoughts on empathy..

People have spent the last few months, since multiple lockdowns taking place all over the world, on self wellbeing. Social media is flooded with videos on yoga, meditation, routines, diets, fitness, wellbeing. For this is very helpful, however isn’t the time to redirect this energy on kindness and empathy towards others?

One can’t be happy alone. It has been said centuries ago, happiness is not solely an individualistic purpose as much as it is also a collective one. Greek philosophers for example thought of politics as eudemonistic (eudemonia, in Greek, means happiness). According to them, politics should aim for high moral values, the highest being the city’s happiness or well being.

Politics these days is far from it’s original definition. Perhaps it is time, people take themselves and others in charge by being empathetic and kind to one another, for empathy is a natural human tendency. After at least a century of praising completion and ambition, it is hard for everyone to be empathetic and less selfish again.

Below, the philosopher and economist Adam Smith wrote about empathy as the main pillar of social cohesion: