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  • Writer's pictureFred Guerin

Hannah Arendt

Updated: May 31, 2020

"The conviction that everything that happens on earth must be comprehensible to man can lead to interpreting history by commonplaces. Comprehension does not mean denying the outrageous, deducing the unprecedented from precedents, or explaining phenomena by such analogies and generalities that the impact of reality and the shock of experience are no longer felt. It means, rather, examining and bearing consciously the burden which our century has placed on us - neither denying its existence nor submitting meekly to its weight.

Comprehension, in short, means the unpremeditated, attentive facing up to, and resisting of, reality - whatever it may be."

The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt (Preface to the First Edition

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