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📚⭐️ Book: The Human Condition

Reading  ✺  People

The Human Condition - Hannah Arendt

I loved this book. I am sharing some notes below, knowing full well that a summary just wouldn’t do justice it just. It’s a book you would read for the process and experience, not key points that can be summarized in a post.

The books is part deep analysis of philosophical thinking through times and places, and part dissection of the concepts of labour, work, and thought and action.

I have the past year thinking about my identity outside of “work”, and I appreciated how the book provided excellent ways to frame my thinking. In particular, Arendt contrasts action and speech to labour and work, and how they create our conceptualization of the self, and its relationship with the world.

To live together in the world means essentially that a world of things is between those who have it in common, as a table is located between those who sit around it; the world, like every in-between, relates and separates men at the same time. 52
With word and deed we insert ourselves into the human world, and this insertion […] is not forced upon us by necessity, like labor, and it is not prompted by utility, like work. 176-177
The disclosure of the "who" through speech, and the setting of a new beginning through action, always fall into an already existing web [of human relationships] where their immediate consequences can be felt. Together they start a new process which eventually emerges as the unique life story of the newcomer, affecting uniquely the life stories of all those with whom he comes into contact. 184

The last section of the book dives into the history and role of science, what it shares with philosophy, and how it has parted ways, and the how that affects society and informs our understanding of the world. It was first published in 1958, but it is so incredibly relevant to science and work today.