➊ Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer

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Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer



Retrieved 18 April While most of the art in his day Subcutaneous Emphysema Case Study religious themes Pros And Cons Of Embargo Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer issues, Saig's work Witchery In Macbeth into politics. The first is the false Sneezeweed In Plants : This character is Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer villainous, Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer a false Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer to be the hero that must be rebutted for the happy ending. A complication builds up and develops the primary Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer central conflict in Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer literary work. This is in accordance with the started project of an archive collecting Palestinian testimonies see The Umm el-Fahem Museum of Contemporary Personal Narrative: My Motives Of A Writer project. Explain any education that helped Kurt Cobain: A Suicide Or Homicide? prepare for the program.

WRITING MOTIVATION: WHO WILL BE NEXT?

In their role as an adversary, the villain serves as an obstacle the hero must struggle to overcome. In their role as a foil, they exemplify characteristics that are diametrically opposed to those of the hero, creating a contrast distinguishing heroic traits from villainous ones. Other have pointed out that many acts of villains have a hint of wish-fulfillment, [12] which makes some readers or viewers identify with them as characters more strongly than with the heroes.

Because of this, a convincing villain must be given a characterization that provides a motive for doing wrong, as well as being a worthy adversary to the hero. As put by film critic Roger Ebert : "Each film is only as good as its villain. Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph. The actor Tod Slaughter typically portrayed villainous characters on both stage and screen in a melodramatic manner, with mustache-twirling, eye-rolling , leering , cackling , and hand-rubbing.

The term villain is the universal term for characters who pose as catalysts for certain ideals that readers or observers find immoral, but the term "villainess" is often used to highlight specific traits that come with their female identity—separating them, in some aspects, from their male counterparts. The use of the female villain or villainess is often to highlight the traits that come specifically with the character and the abilities they possess that are exclusive to them. For example, one of the female villain's greatest weapons is her alluring beauty. The perversion of inherently female traits in storytelling also alludes to the demonic display of the succubus and their affinity for utilising their beauty as a weapon—a trait utilised by many female villains throughout modern fiction and mythology.

The ethical dimension of history poses the problem of judging those that acted in the past. It, at times, tempts us scholars and historians to construct a world of black and white: in which the terms of hero and villain are used arbitrary and with the pass of time become interchangeble. These binaries of course are reflected to varying degrees in endless movies, novels, and other fictional and non-fictional narratives. As processes of globalization connect the world, cultures with different historical trajectories and political traditions will need to find ways to work together not only economically, but also politically. In this evolving framework of globalization, tradition, according to political theorists like Edmund Burke Through the embellishment of history into tradition, historical figures perceived and evaluated as either positive or negative become embodiments of national political cultures that may collude or collide against one another.

The usage of villain to describe a historical figure dates back to Tudor propaganda, pieces of which ended up influencing William Shakespeare 's portrayal of Richard III as a spiteful and hunchback dictator. The sympathetic villain or anti-villain is one with the typical traits of a villainous character but differs in their motivations. Their intentions to cause chaos or commit evil actions is driven by an ambiguous motivation or is not driven by an intent to cause evil. Their intentions may coincide with the ideals of a greater good, or even a desire to make the world a better place , but their actions are inherently evil in nature.

Because of their motives, many of these types of villains are commonly nicknamed as "anti-villains". American writer Brad Warner has argued that "only cartoon villains cackle with glee while rubbing their hands together and dream of ruling the world in the name of all that is wicked and bad". He states, in his Tips for writers :. No one actually sets out to do evil Fiction mirrors life. Or, more accurately, fiction serves as a lens to focus on what they know in life and bring its realities into sharper, clearer understanding for us.

There are no villains cackling and rubbing their hands in glee as they contemplate their evil deeds. There are only people with problems, struggling to solve them. Following up on Bova's point, American writer David Lubar adds: "This is a brilliant observation that has served me well in all my writing. The bad guy isn't doing bad stuff so he can rub his hands together and snarl. He may be driven by greed, neuroses, or the conviction that his cause is just, but he's driven by something, not unlike the things that drive a hero. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Evil character or person. Several terms redirect here. For other uses, see Villain disambiguation , Villainy disambiguation , Bad Guy disambiguation and Badman disambiguation. Not to be confused with the feudal term Villein. This article has multiple issues. Please help to improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.

Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. List of soap opera villains Lovable rogue Nemesis mythology Rival disambiguation Supervillain Tyrant. Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on Retrieved October 11, Barnhart; Sol Steinmetz Chambers Dictionary of Etymology. New York: Chambers. ISBN Guralnik Webster's New World Dictionary 2nd college ed. Oxford Dictionaries.

Lewis Studies in Words. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved August 22, The Daily Telegraph. September 8, Retrieved March 26, Inquires Journal. Retrieved March 25, Morphology of the Folk Tale 2nd ed. University of Texas Press. Retrieved September 5, The Annotated Brothers Grimm 1st ed. A History of Indian Literature: Sahitya Akademi. PMC PMID New World Library. Ben Bova. Retrieved Fiction Notes. Retrieved June 6, The encounter with Heidegger, with whom she had a brief but intense love-affair, had a lasting influence on her thought.

After a year of study in Marburg, she moved to Freiburg University where she spent one semester attending the lectures of Edmund Husserl. In the spring of she went to Heidelberg University to study with Karl Jaspers, a philosopher with whom she established a long-lasting intellectual and personal friendship. During her stay in Paris she continued to work on her biography of Rahel Varnhagen , which was not published until hereafter RV. In she was forced to leave France and moved to New York with her husband and mother. In New York she soon became part of an influential circle of writers and intellectuals gathered around the journal Partisan Review. During the post-war period she lectured at a number of American universities, including Princeton, Berkeley and Chicago, but was most closely associated with the New School for Social Research, where she was a professor of political philosophy until her death in In she published The Origins of Totalitarianism hereafter OT , a major study of the Nazi and Stalinist regimes that soon became a classic, followed by The Human Condition in hereafter HC , her most important philosophical work.

In she attended the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem as a reporter for The New Yorker magazine, and two years later published Eichmann in Jerusalem hereafter EJ , which caused a deep controversy in Jewish circles. The same year saw the publication of On Revolution hereafter OR , a comparative analysis of the American and French revolutions. At the time of her death in , she had completed the first two volumes on Thinking and Willing of her last major philosophical work, The Life of the Mind , which was published posthumously in hereafter LM.

Hannah Arendt was one of the seminal political thinkers of the twentieth century. In these works and in numerous essays she grappled with the most crucial political events of her time, trying to grasp their meaning and historical import, and showing how they affected our categories of moral and political judgment. What was required, in her view, was a new framework that could enable us to come to terms with the twin horrors of the twentieth century, Nazism and Stalinism. She provided such framework in her book on totalitarianism, and went on to develop a new set of philosophical categories that could illuminate the human condition and provide a fresh perspective on the nature of political life.

Although some of her works now belong to the classics of the Western tradition of political thought, she has always remained difficult to classify. Her political philosophy cannot be characterized in terms of the traditional categories of conservatism, liberalism, and socialism. Nor can her thinking be assimilated to the recent revival of communitarian political thought, to be found, for example, in the writings of A. MacIntyre, M. Sandel, C. Taylor and M. Her name has been invoked by a number of critics of the liberal tradition, on the grounds that she presented a vision of politics that stood in opposition some key liberal principles. However, it would be a mistake to view Arendt as an anti-liberal thinker. Arendt was in fact a stern defender of constitutionalism and the rule of law, an advocate of fundamental human rights among which she included not only the right to life, liberty, and freedom of expression, but also the right to action and to opinion , and a critic of all forms of political community based on traditional ties and customs, as well as those based on religious, ethnic, or racial identity.

Arendt did not conceive of politics as a means for the satisfaction of individual preferences, nor as a way to integrate individuals around a shared conception of the good. Her conception of politics is based instead on the idea of active citizenship, that is, on the value and importance of civic engagement and collective deliberation about all matters affecting the political community.

If there is a tradition of thought with which Arendt can be identified, it is the classical tradition of civic republicanism originating in Aristotle and embodied in the writings of Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Jefferson, and Tocqueville. According to this tradition politics finds its authentic expression whenever citizens gather together in a public space to deliberate and decide about matters of collective concern. Political activity is valued not because it may lead to agreement or to a shared conception of the good, but because it enables each citizen to exercise his or her powers of agency, to develop the capacities for judgment and to attain by concerted action some measure of political efficacy.

In her major philosophical work, The Human Condition , and in some of the essays collected in Between Past and Future , Arendt articulated a fairly negative conception of modernity. In these writings Arendt is primarily concerned with the losses incurred as a result of the eclipse of tradition, religion, and authority, but she offers a number of illuminating suggestions with respect to the resources that the modern age can still provide to address questions of meaning, identity, and value. For Arendt modernity is characterized by the loss of the world , by which she means the restriction or elimination of the public sphere of action and speech in favor of the private world of introspection and the private pursuit of economic interests.

Modernity is the age of mass society, of the rise of the social out of a previous distinction between the public and the private, and of the victory of animal laborans over homo faber and the classical conception of man as zoon politikon. Modernity is the age of bureaucratic administration and anonymous labor, rather than politics and action, of elite domination and the manipulation of public opinion.

It is the age when totalitarian forms of government, such as Nazism and Stalinism, have emerged as a result of the institutionalization of terror and violence. Modernity is the age where the past no longer carries any certainty of evaluation, where individuals, having lost their traditional standards and values, must search for new grounds of human community as such. In her political writings, and especially in The Origins of Totalitarianism , Arendt claimed that the phenomenon of totalitarianism has broken the continuity of Occidental history, and has rendered meaningless most of our moral and political categories.

The break in our tradition has become irrevocable after the tragic events of the twentieth century and the triumph of totalitarian movements East and West. In the form of Stalinism and Nazism, totalitarianism has exploded the established categories of political thought and the accepted standards of moral judgment, and has thereby broken the continuity of our history. Faced with the tragic events of the Holocaust and the Gulag, we can no longer go back to traditional concepts and values, so as to explain the unprecedented by means of precedents, or to understand the monstrous by means of the familiar.

Our inherited concepts and criteria for judgment have been dissolved under the impact of modern political events, and the task now is to re-establish the meaning of the past outside the framework of any tradition, since none have retained their original validity. It is the past, then, and not tradition, that Arendt attempts to preserve from the rupture in modern time-consciousness.

The hermeneutic strategy that Arendt employed to re-establish a link with the past is indebted to both Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger. From Benjamin she took the idea of a fragmentary historiography, one that seeks to identify the moments of rupture, displacement and dislocation in history. Such fragmentary historiography enables one to recover the lost potentials of the past in the hope that they may find actualization in the present. From Heidegger she took the idea of a deconstructive reading of the Western philosophical tradition, one that seeks to uncover the original meaning of our categories and to liberate them from the distorting incrustations of tradition.

Such deconstructive hermeneutics enables one to recover those primordial experiences Urphaenomene which have been occluded or forgotten by the philosophical tradition, and thereby to recover the lost origins of our philosophical concepts and categories. In her view it is no longer possible, after the collapse of tradition, to save the past as a whole; the task, rather, is to redeem from oblivion those elements of the past that are still able to illuminate our situation.

To re-establish a linkage with the past is not an antiquarian exercise; on the contrary, without the critical reappropriation of the past our temporal horizon becomes disrupted, our experience precarious, and our identity more fragile. Only by means of this critical reappropriation can we discover the past anew, endow it with relevance and meaning for the present, and make it a source of inspiration for the future.

Against tradition Arendt sets the criterion of genuineness, against the authoritative that which is forgotten, concealed, or displaced at the margins of history. Arendt articulates her conception of modernity around a number of key features: these are world alienation , earth alienation , the rise of the social , and the victory of animal laborans. World alienation refers to the loss of an intersubjectively constituted world of experience and action by means of which we establish our self-identity and an adequate sense of reality. Earth alienation refers to the attempt to escape from the confines of the earth; spurred by modern science and technology, we have searched for ways to overcome our earth-bound condition by setting out on the exploration of space, by attempting to recreate life under laboratory conditions, and by trying to extend our given life-span.

The rise of the social refers to the expansion of the market economy from the early modern period and the ever increasing accumulation of capital and social wealth. With the rise of the social everything has become an object of production and consumption, of acquisition and exchange; moreover, its constant expansion has resulted in the blurring of the distinction between the private and the public. The victory of animal laborans refers to the triumph of the values of labor over those of homo faber and of man as zoon politikon. All the values characteristic of the world of fabrication — permanence, stability, durability — as well as those characteristic of the world of action and speech — freedom, plurality, solidarity — are sacrificed in favor of the values of life, productivity and abundance.

Arendt identifies two main stages in the emergence of modernity: the first, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, corresponds to world alienation and the rise of the social, the second, from the beginning of the twentieth century, corresponds to earth alienation and the victory of animal laborans. She also identifies a number of causes: the discovery of America and the corresponding shrinking of the earth, the waves of expropriation started during the Reformation, the invention of the telescope challenging the adequacy of the senses, the rise of modern science and philosophy and subsequently of a conception of man as part of a process of Nature and History, and the expansion of the realm of the economy, of the production and accumulation of social wealth.

We focus attention here on two categories employed by Arendt, those of nature , and the social. With respect to the category of nature, Arendt oscillates between two contrasting accounts. According to the first account, the modern age, by elevating labor, the most natural of human activities, to the highest position within the vita activa , has brought us too close to nature. Instead of building and preserving the human artifice and creating public spaces for action and deliberation, we are reduced to engage in the activity of sheer survival and in the production of things that are by definition perishable.

According to the second account, however, the modern age is characterized by a growing artificiality, by the rejection of anything that is not man-made. Arendt cites the fact that natural processes, including that of life itself, have been recreated artificially by means of scientific experiment, that our natural environment has been extensively transformed and in some instances entirely replaced by technology, and that we have searched for ways to overcome our natural condition as earth-bound creatures by setting out on the exploration of space and envisaging the possibility of inhabiting other planets.

All this leads to a situation where nothing around us will be a naturally given event, object, or process, but will instead be the product of our instruments and the will to refashion the world in our image. These two accounts are difficult to reconcile, since in the former we have nature intruding upon and even destroying the human artifice, while in the latter we have art techne expanding upon and replacing everything natural or merely given. The result is to endow nature with an ambiguous status, since in the former case the victory of animal laborans indicates our subjection to natural processes, while in the latter case the expansion of scientific knowledge and of technological mastery indicates the overcoming of all natural limits.

The modern world would thus appear to be too natural and too artificial, too much under the dominance of labor and the life-process of the species, as well as too much under the dominance of techne. With respect to the second category, that of the social, Arendt was unable to account for certain important features of the modern world. Arendt identifies the social with all those activities formerly restricted to the private sphere of the household and having to do with the necessities of life.

Her claim is that, with the tremendous expansion of the economy from the end of the eighteenth century, all such activities have taken over the public realm and transformed it into a sphere for the satisfaction of our material needs. Society has thus invaded and conquered the public realm, turning it into a function of what previously were private needs and concerns, and has thereby destroyed the boundary separating the public and the private.

Arendt also claims that with the expansion of the social realm the tripartite division of human activities has been undermined to the point of becoming meaningless. In her view, once the social realm has established its monopoly, the distinction between labor, work and action is lost, since every effort is now expended on reproducing our material conditions of existence. Obsessed with life, productivity, and consumption, we have turned into a society of laborers and jobholders who no longer appreciate the values associated with work, nor those associated with action.

I would argue, however, that it blinds her to many important issues and leads her to a series of questionable judgments. She claims that the social is the realm of labor, of biological and material necessity, of the reproduction of our condition of existence. She also claims that the rise of the social coincides with the expansion of the economy from the end of the eighteenth century. However, having identified the social with the growth of the economy in the past two centuries, Arendt cannot characterize it in terms of a subsistence model of simple reproduction Benhabib , Ch. She is, in fact, unable to acknowledge that a modern capitalist economy constitutes a structure of power with a highly asymmetric distribution of costs and rewards.

By relying on the misleading analogy of the household, she maintains that all questions pertaining to the economy are pre-political, and thus ignores the crucial question of economic power and exploitation Bernstein , Ch. Finally, by insisting on a strict separation between the private and the public, and between the social and the political, she is unable to account for the essential connection between these spheres and the struggles to redraw their boundaries.

Today many so-called private issues have become public concerns, and the struggle for justice and equal rights has extended into many spheres. By insulating the political sphere from the concerns of the social, and by maintaining a strict distinction between the public and the private, Arendt is unable to account for some of the most important achievements of modernity — the extension of justice and equal rights, and the redrawing of the boundaries between the public and the private Benhabib , Ch.

By distinguishing action praxis from fabrication poiesis , by linking it to freedom and plurality, and by showing its connection to speech and remembrance, Arendt is able to articulate a conception of politics in which questions of meaning and identity can be addressed in a fresh and original manner. Moreover, by viewing action as a mode of human togetherness, Arendt is able to develop a conception of participatory democracy which stands in direct contrast to the bureaucratized and elitist forms of politics so characteristic of the modern epoch. Lastly, we look at the remedies for the unpredictability and irreversibility of action, namely, the power of promise and the power to forgive.

For Arendt, action is one of the fundamental categories of the human condition and constitutes the highest realization of the vita activa. Arendt analyzes the vita activa via three categories which correspond to the three fundamental activities of our being-in-the-world: labor, work, and action. Labor is the activity which is tied to the human condition of life, work the activity which is tied to the condition of worldliness, and action the activity tied to the condition of plurality. For Arendt each activity is autonomous, in the sense of having its own distinctive principles and of being judged by different criteria. Labor is judged by its ability to sustain human life, to cater to our biological needs of consumption and reproduction, work is judged by its ability to build and maintain a world fit for human use, and action is judged by its ability to disclose the identity of the agent, to affirm the reality of the world, and to actualize our capacity for freedom.

Although Arendt considers the three activities of labor, work and action equally necessary to a complete human life, in the sense that each contributes in its distinctive way to the realization of our human capacities, it is clear from her writings that she takes action to be the differentia specifica of human beings, that which distinguishes them from both the life of animals who are similar to us insofar as they need to labor to sustain and reproduce themselves and the life of the gods with whom we share, intermittently, the activity of contemplation. In this respect the categories of labor and work, while significant in themselves, must be seen as counterpoints to the category of action, helping to differentiate and highlight the place of action within the order of the vita activa.

The two central features of action are freedom and plurality. By freedom Arendt does not mean the ability to choose among a set of possible alternatives the freedom of choice so dear to the liberal tradition or the faculty of liberum arbitrium which, according to Christian doctrine, was given to us by God. Rather, by freedom Arendt means the capacity to begin, to start something new, to do the unexpected, with which all human beings are endowed by virtue of being born.

Action as the realization of freedom is therefore rooted in natality , in the fact that each birth represents a new beginning and the introduction of novelty in the world. To be sure, Arendt recognizes that all activities are in some way related to the phenomenon of natality, since both labor and work are necessary to create and preserve a world into which new human beings are constantly born. However, of the three activities, action is the one most closely connected with natality, because by acting individuals re-enact the miracle of beginning inherent in their birth.

For Arendt, the beginning that each of us represents by virtue of being born is actualized every time we act, that is, every time we begin something new. Arendt also stresses the fact that since action as beginning is rooted in natality, since it is the actualization of freedom, it carries with it the capacity to perform miracles, that is, to introduce what is totally unexpected. This character of startling unexpectedness is inherent in all beginnings … The fact that man is capable of action means that the unexpected can be expected from him, that he is able to perform what is infinitely improbable. The favorite example for Arendt is the American Revolution, because there the act of foundation took the form of a constitution of liberty.

In all these cases individual men and women had the courage to interrupt their routine activities, to step forward from their private lives in order to create a public space where freedom could appear, and to act in such a way that the memory of their deeds could become a source of inspiration for the future. In doing so, according to Arendt, they rediscovered the truth known to the ancient Greeks that action is the supreme blessing of human life, that which bestows significance to the lives of individuals. In the book On Revolution Arendt devotes much attention to the rediscovery of this truth by those who participated in the American Revolution.

In her view the Founding Fathers, although they might have pretended that they longed for private life and engaged in politics only out of a sense of duty, made clear in their letters and recollections that they had discovered unexpected delights in action and had acquired a taste for public freedom and for earning distinction among their peers. Plurality , to which we may now turn, is the other central feature of action. For if to act means to take the initiative, to introduce the novum and the unexpected into the world, it also means that it is not something that can be done in isolation from others, that is, independently of the presence of a plurality of actors who from their different perspectives can judge the quality of what is being enacted.

In this respect action needs plurality in the same way that performance artists need an audience; without the presence and acknowledgment of others, action would cease to be a meaningful activity. Action, to the extent that it requires appearing in public, making oneself known through words and deeds, and eliciting the consent of others, can only exist in a context defined by plurality. Arendt establishes the connection between action and plurality by means of an anthropological argument.

In her view just as life is the condition that corresponds to the activity of labor and worldliness the condition that corresponds to the activity of work, so plurality is the condition that corresponds to action. Plurality thus refers both to equality and distinction , to the fact that all human beings belong to the same species and are sufficiently alike to understand one another, but yet no two of them are ever interchangeable, since each of them is an individual endowed with a unique biography and perspective on the world. It is by virtue of plurality that each of us is capable of acting and relating to others in ways that are unique and distinctive, and in so doing of contributing to a network of actions and relationships that is infinitely complex and unpredictable.

This network of actions is what makes up the realm of human affairs, that space where individuals relate directly without the intermediary of things or matter — that is, through language. Let us examine briefly this connection between action and language. In The Human Condition Arendt stresses repeatedly that action is primarily symbolic in character and that the web of human relationships is sustained by communicative interaction HC, —9, —6, — We may formulate it as follows.

Action entails speech : by means of language we are able to articulate the meaning of our actions and to coordinate the actions of a plurality of agents. Conversely, speech entails action , not only in the sense that speech itself is a form of action, or that most acts are performed in the manner of speech, but in the sense that action is often the means whereby we check the sincerity of the speaker. Thus, just as action without speech runs the risk of being meaningless and would be impossible to coordinate with the actions of others, so speech without action would lack one of the means by which we may confirm the veracity of the speaker.

Let us now turn to an examination of the disclosing power of action and speech. In the opening section of the chapter on action in The Human Condition Arendt discusses one of its central functions, namely, the disclosure of the identity of the agent. In action and speech, she maintains, individuals reveal themselves as the unique individuals they are, disclose to the world their distinct personalities. In labor the individuality of each person is submerged by being bound to a chain of natural necessities, to the constraints imposed by biological survival. When we engage in labor we can only show our sameness, the fact that we all belong to the human species and must attend to the needs of our bodies.

In work there is more scope for individuality, in that each work of art or production bears the mark of its maker; but the maker is still subordinate to the end product, both in the sense of being guided by a model, and in the sense that the product will generally outlast the maker. Moreover, the end product reveals little about the maker except the fact that he or she was able to make it. It does not tell us who the creator was, only that he or she had certain abilities and talents. It is thus only in action and speech, in interacting with others through words and deeds, that individuals reveal who they personally are and can affirm their unique identities. Without the accompaniment of speech, action would lose its revelatory quality and could no longer be identified with an agent.

It would lack, as it were, the conditions of ascription of agency. We have seen, then, how through action and speech individuals are able to disclose their identities, to reveal their specific uniqueness — their who — as distinct from their personal abilities and talents — their what. However, while engaging in speech and action individuals can never be sure what kind of self they will reveal. Only retrospectively, that is, only through the stories that will arise from their deeds and performances, will their identity become fully manifest. The function of the storyteller is thus crucial not only for the preservation of the doings and sayings of actors, but also for the full disclosure of the identity of the actor.

Storytelling, or the weaving of a narrative out of the actions and pronouncements of individuals, is partly constitutive of their meaning, because it enables the retrospective articulation of their significance and import, both for the actors themselves and for the spectators. Being absorbed by their immediate aims and concerns, not aware of the full implications of their actions, actors are often not in a position to assess the true significance of their doings, or to be fully aware of their own motives and intentions. Only when action has run a certain course, and its relationship to other actions has unfolded, can its significance be made fully manifest and be embodied in a narrative, whether of poets or historians.

The fact that this narrative is temporally deferred, that it is at some distance from the events it describes, is one of the reasons why it can provide further insight into the motives and aims of the actors. Narratives can thus provide a measure of truthfulness and a greater degree of significance to the actions of individuals. But they also preserve the memory of deeds through time, and in so doing, they enable these deeds to become sources of inspiration for the future, that is, models to be imitated, and, if possible, surpassed. One of the principal drawbacks of action, Arendt maintains, is to be extremely fragile, to be subject to the erosion of time and to forgetfulness; unlike the products of the activity of work, which acquire a measure of permanence by virtue of their sheer facticity, deeds and words do not survive their enactment unless they are remembered.

Remembrance alone, the retelling of deeds as stories, can save the lives and deeds of actors from oblivion and futility. And it is precisely for this reason, Arendt points out, that the Greeks valued poetry and history so highly, because they rescued the glorious as well as the less glorious deeds of the past for the benefit of future generations HC, ff; BPF, 63— In their work the past became a repository of instruction, of actions to be emulated as well as deeds to be shunned.

Through their narratives the fragility and perishability of human action was overcome and made to outlast the lives of their doers and the limited life-span of their contemporaries. However, to be preserved, such narratives needed in turn an audience, that is, a community of hearers who became the transmitters of the deeds that had been immortalized. In other words, behind the actor stands the storyteller, but behind the storyteller stands a community of memory. It was one of the primary functions of the polis to be precisely such a community, to preserve the words and deeds of its citizens from oblivion and the ravages of time, and thereby to leave a testament for future generations.

The Greek polis , beyond making possible the sharing of words and deeds and multiplying the occasions to win immortal fame, was meant to remedy the frailty of human affairs. It did this by establishing a framework where action and speech could be recorded and transformed into stories, where every citizen could be a witness and thereby a potential narrator. What the polis established, then, was a space where organized remembrance could take place, and where, as a result, the mortality of actors and the fragility of human deeds could be partially overcome. The metaphor of the polis recurs constantly in the writings of Arendt. However, since it is a creation of action, this space of appearance is highly fragile and exists only when actualized through the performance of deeds or the utterance of words.

The space of appearance must be continually recreated by action; its existence is secured whenever actors gather together for the purpose of discussing and deliberating about matters of public concern, and it disappears the moment these activities cease. It is always a potential space that finds its actualization in the actions and speeches of individuals who have come together to undertake some common project.

It may arise suddenly, as in the case of revolutions, or it may develop slowly out of the efforts to change some specific piece of legislation or policy. This capacity to act in concert for a public-political purpose is what Arendt calls power. Power needs to be distinguished from strength, force, and violence CR, — Unlike strength, it is not the property of an individual, but of a plurality of actors joining together for some common political purpose. Unlike force, it is not a natural phenomenon but a human creation, the outcome of collective engagement. And unlike violence, it is based not on coercion but on consent and rational persuasion.

For Arendt, power is a sui generis phenomenon, since it is a product of action and rests entirely on persuasion. It is a product of action because it arises out of the concerted activities of a plurality of agents, and it rests on persuasion because it consists in the ability to secure the consent of others through unconstrained discussion and debate. It is actualized in all those cases where action is undertaken for communicative rather than strategic or instrumental purposes, and where speech is employed to disclose our intentions and to articulate our motives to others.

Arendt maintains that the legitimacy of power is derived from the initial getting together of people, that is, from the original pact of association that establishes a political community, and is reaffirmed whenever individuals act in concert through the medium of speech and persuasion. Beyond appealing to the past, power also relies for its continued legitimacy on the rationally binding commitments that arise out of a process of free and undistorted communication. Because of this, power is highly independent of material factors: it is sustained not by economic, bureaucratic or military means, but by the power of common convictions that result from a process of fair and unconstrained deliberation. Power is also not something that can be relied upon at all times or accumulated and stored for future use.

Rather, it exists only as a potential which is actualized when actors gather together for political action and public deliberation. It is thus closely connected to the space of appearance, that public space which arises out of the actions and speeches of individuals. Power, then, lies at the basis of every political community and is the expression of a potential that is always available to actors. It is also the source of legitimacy of political and governmental institutions, the means whereby they are transformed and adapted to new circumstances and made to respond to the opinions and needs of the citizens.

The legitimacy of political institutions is dependent on the power, that is, the active consent of the people; and insofar as governments may be viewed as attempts to preserve power for future generations by institutionalizing it, they require for their vitality the continuing support and active involvement of all citizens. We have also emphasized the importance of narrative and remembrance, of the retrospective articulation of the meaning of action by means of storytelling and its preservation through a community of memory.

In conclusion, we examine two other features of action, namely, unpredictability and irreversibility , and their respective remedies, the power of promise and the power to forgive. Action is unpredictable because it is a manifestation of freedom, of the capacity to innovate and to alter situations by engaging in them; but also, and primarily, because it takes place within the web of human relationships, within a context defined by plurality, so that no actor can control its final outcome.

Each actor sets off processes and enters into the inextricable web of actions and events to which all other actors also contribute, with the result that the outcome can never be predicted from the intentions of any particular actor. The open and unpredictable nature of action is a consequence of human freedom and plurality: by acting we are free to start processes and bring about new events, but no actor has the power to control the consequences of his or her deeds. Another and related reason for the unpredictability of action is that its consequences are boundless: every act sets in motion an unlimited number of actions and reactions which have literally no end.

Closely connected to the boundlessness and unpredictability of action is its irreversibility. Every action sets off processes which cannot be undone or retrieved in the way, say, we are able to undo a faulty product of our hands. If one builds an artifact and is not satisfied with it, it can always be destroyed and recreated again. This is impossible where action is concerned, because action always takes place within an already existing web of human relationships, where every action becomes a reaction, every deed a source of future deeds, and none of these can be stopped or subsequently undone.

The consequences of each act are thus not only unpredictable but also irreversible; the processes started by action can neither be controlled nor be reversed. Platonism, Stoicism and Christianity elevated the sphere of contemplation above the sphere of action, precisely because in the former one could be free from the entanglements and frustrations of action. These two faculties are closely connected, the former mitigating the irreversibility of action by absolving the actor from the unintended consequences of his or her deeds, the latter moderating the uncertainty of its outcome by binding actors to certain courses of action and thereby setting some limit to the unpredictability of the future.

Both faculties are, in this respect, connected to temporality : from the standpoint of the present forgiving looks backward to what has happened and absolves the actor from what was unintentionally done, while promising looks forward as it seeks to establish islands of security in an otherwise uncertain and unpredictable future. Forgiving enables us to come to terms with the past and liberates us to some extent from the burden of irreversibility; promising allows us to face the future and to set some bounds to its unpredictability. Together with the theory of action, her unfinished theory of judgment represents her central legacy to twentieth century political thought. She intended to complete her study of the life of the mind by devoting the third volume to the faculty of judgment, but was not able to do so because of her untimely death in What she left was a number of reflections scattered in the first two volumes on Thinking and Willing LM, vol.

I; vol. However, these writings do not present a unified theory of judgment but, rather, two distinct models, one based on the standpoint of the actor, the other on the standpoint of the spectator, which are somewhat at odds with each other. In this later formulation Arendt is no longer concerned with judging as a feature of political life as such, as the faculty which is exercised by actors in order to decide how to act in the public realm, but with judgment as a component in the life of the mind, the faculty through which the privileged spectators can recover meaning from the past and thereby reconcile themselves to time and, retrospectively, to tragedy. In addition to presenting us with two models of judgment which stand in tension with each other, Arendt did not clarify the status of judgment with respect to two of its philosophical sources, Aristotle and Kant.

The two conceptions seem to pull in opposite directions, the Aristotelian toward a concern with the particular, the Kantian toward a concern with universality and impartiality. Faced with the horrors of the extermination camps and what is now termed the Gulag, Arendt strove to understand these phenomena in their own terms, neither deducing them from precedents nor placing them in some overarching scheme of historical necessity. This need to come to terms with the traumatic events of the twentieth century, and to understand them in a manner that does not explain them away but faces them in all their starkness and unprecedentedness, is something to which Arendt returns again and again.

Once these rules have lost their validity we are no longer able to understand and to judge the particulars, that is, we are no longer able to subsume them under our accepted categories of moral and political thought. Arendt, however, does not believe that the loss of these categories has brought to an end our capacity to judge; on the contrary, since human beings are distinguished by their capacity to begin anew, they are able to fashion new categories and to formulate new standards of judgment for the events that have come to pass and for those that may emerge in the future. For Arendt, therefore, the enormity and unprecedentedness of totalitarianism have not destroyed, strictly speaking, our ability to judge; rather, they have destroyed our accepted standards of judgment and our conventional categories of interpretation and assessment, be they moral or political.

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