Thursday, March 2, 2023

#61 / When The Table Disappears


Arendt offers a metaphor of sitting around a table to understand what it means when the real world is lost. So long as the table is there, we are all part of a conversation, connected by the table that creates as it were the world that unites us. Remove the table and we are isolated individuals sitting in space. Similarly, stories we tell and songs we sing bring us together and guide us in living together as a collectivity.... The building and nurturing of this shared common world is the activity of politics; politics is the telling of stories and building of institutions that unite a multitude of individuals into a common and meaningful project [p. 10].

The quotation above is from a recent book edited by Roger Berkowitz, the Founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, at Bard College. The book is titled, The Perils of Invention: Lying, Technology, and the Human Condition. I am recommending that book!

In talking about the world with others, with those who disagree, we make the world visible in its complexity.... In talking about the world, we also make judgments and decisions about the world [and this] will, [Arendt] argues, "eventually lay the groundwork for new agreements between ourselves as well as between the nations of the earth, which then might become customs, rules [and] standards that again will be frozen into what is called morality" [p. 11].
Talking together - "talking to strangers" - is the way we construct a "common world," a world that brings us together, despite our diversity and differences. "Talking together," in essence, is what "politics" is all about.

Politics! That, too, is recommended!

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