Friday, October 1, 2021

#274 / A Feature Not A Bug


I rather regularly participate in a "Virtual Reading Group," hosted by Roger Berkowitz, the founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College. In fact, the group is meeting today, online, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and is currently discussing The Life of the Mind. The cover of the book, which is pictured above, touts this as "Arendt's greatest work." 

I am still sticking with On Revolution as my favorite book by Hannah Arendt, but The Life of the Mind is pretty darn good! You can, by the way, click on either of the following links to view the full text of On Revolution and a pretty good sample of The Life of the Mind

As The Life of the Mind begins, Arendt distinguishes "truth" and "meaning," and essentially sides with Pontius Pilate in suggesting that "Truth" is not what we really ought to be asking about. Arendt suggests that the question we really ought to ask is not the question, "What is Truth?" but a question about "meaning." 
Arendt also, famously, urges us to accept the fact that "plurality" (which we would probably call "diversity" today) is inherent in the very nature of our world. We are all different, not the same, and to use some contemporary parlance, Arendt says that this is "a feature, not a bug."

In other words, we should start embracing the plurality and diversity that is the essential nature of our world, and should stop trying to stomp it out, and to distinguish the "bad" from the "good," and the "wrong" from the "right."

If you are not clear on this concept, click the following link and listen to The Youngbloods, featured in my blog posting yesterday.

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