Oops — by me
Well, and there were mistakes made, but not by me 😉
The remarkable thing is understanding never stays put. It is important always to get a new understanding … … … understanding can be improved
She was misunderstood by many people: for she discarded the traditional political philosophy’s conceptual schema.
Hannah Arendt employed the famous phrase about “banality of evil” in her book about the trial of Adolf Eichmann. Now almost a cliché, it is easy to forget the storm it once generated. As a former victim of Nazi persecution in Germany who had later worked for the Zionist cause in Palestine, many Jewish writers had expected Arendt’s book on the trial to reinforce their own conviction that Nazism represented a radically new type of evil. To her own surprise, Arendt was unable to oblige.
Conventionally Eichmann was viewed as a “evil monster”. However, after Arendt studied Eichmann during the trial and after, she did not see a demonic force but a mediocre personality, that she concluded, who inhabited a thought world of platitudes. A banal obsession with process and following orders, not some special, radical type of evil, had enabled him to commit crimes on a massive scale. Arendt’s critics had misunderstood her if they ever thought that her Zionist past meant she was going to play the part of the “good Jew” in approaching Eichmann’s crimes.
Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus. — Margaret Thatcher
Some of her critics did not read much or any of her writings. Some of them probably based their criticisms of Arendt on what their own cohort had said.
Based on their personal experiences with totalitarian regimes in their youth, Hannah Arendt and Ayn Rand were two individuals who pointed out the hypocrisy of the established Western World intellectuals. They spoke truth to power, and were criticized, ignored, or ostracized because of it.
Unfortunately my blog about Hannah and Ayn had a flaw it it.
Watch what they say and do, if you can — don’t rely on second and third sources.
I knew a great deal about Ayn Rand, having read about and following her for decades, and reading a couple of her books since I was a kid. I had studied Arendt to a degree, but not enough. I made a mistake. NO, my mistake was not on what their ideas were: Hannah and Ayn were very articulate, and had well formulated their prose. Those who don’t have their political, economic, and cultural religion blinding them can easily understand their point of view and their message.
My mistake was of a differing kind. I was mistaken in what Hannah Arendt’s personality type was. I had hypothesized that Hannah Arendt was a Mastermind Rational, same as Ayn, [Contending Rational (INTJ)], but Hannah Arendt not a Mastermind (as I later discovered, after my blog was published), rather, based on listening to an extended interview (in German, with subtitles) was it was clear to me that she was Architect Rational [Accomodating Rational (INTP)].
Architect Rationals need not be thought of as only interested in drawing blueprints for buildings or roads or bridges. They are the master designers of all kinds of theoretical systems, including school curricula, corporate strategies, and new technologies. For Architects, the world exists primarily to be analyzed, understood, explained – and re-designed. External reality in itself is unimportant, little more than raw material to be organized into structural models. What is important for Architects is that they grasp fundamental principles and natural laws, and that their designs are elegant, that is, efficient and coherent. [Please Understand Me II]
Mastermind Rationals do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don’t, aren’t, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency. Problem-solving is highly stimulating to Masterminds, who love responding to tangled systems that require careful sorting out. Ordinarily, they verbalize the positive and avoid comments of a negative nature; they are more interested in moving an organization forward than dwelling on mistakes of the past. [Please Understand Me II]
Most Rationals are reasonable human beings as long as they don’t have to suffer fools. This attitude made them appear as both an arrogant human and a humble human at the same time. Masterminds are not concerned with ideas, for their own sake, as much as the Architects, but rather are interested in ideas for their use and utility in reality. Generally, the Masterminds are looking for interesting answers and Architects are looking for interesting questions. Architects must understand their field of study, use of those ideas by others and reality is secondary.
“That’s mere reality.”
— David Keirsey
Hannah Arendt’s prime directive to herself was to “understand.”
Wir mussen wissen, wir werden wissen.
(We must know, we will know)
— David Hilbert
“Never accept an idea as long as you yourself are not satisfied with its consistency and the logical structure on which the concepts are based. Study the masters. These are the people who have made significant contributions to the subject. Lesser authorities cleverly bypass the difficult points.”