I was very hesitant to publish this essay.
I find Arendt very hard to disagree with – she just seems so shrewd, so alert, annoyingly good at noticing everything that needs noticing; She must have it right. Aggression on the grounds of “ exceptionalism”, is backed by the dubious idea that some are special and cannot be held to the same standards as others. Reflecting recent events, on more than one occasion the phrase “the banality of evil” crossed my mind.
Touched by her psychological and philosophical view to totalitarian systems, I often wondered, how this radical political theorist would have commented to evil political events of the new millennium. That fateful year is now three decades away, and it seems less and less visible that Orwell’s grim prophecy proved correct.
Given this harsh light of history and social psychology, Arendt and Milgram offer a fitting yet uncompromising account of good and evil. The complex or the shadow took over. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man. Crazy Wisdom - the Archetype of the Fool, the Clown, the Jester and the Trickster.
But this is not the story I like to tell here. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die.”.
(Rev. And if it is true that in the final stages of totalitarianism an absolute evil appears (absolute because it can no longer be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives), it is also true that without it we might never have known the truly radical nature of Evil. This kind of evil is very tricky to explain, but one Jungian definition could be this one: Banal evil is a kind of evil which is unconscious, a kind of evil that the “evil person” hasn’t reflected over.
The term totalitarian, first used in the late ’20s, was not fully developed until the late ’40s and early ’50s, when a classical literature arose describing a new kind of tyranny created in this century.
We know only that it can be modified. Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week's most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children's books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning. You can also become a Spontaneous Supporter with a one-time donation in any amount: Partial to Bitcoin? Introduction to Arendt and the book The origin of the term the “banality of evil” is the caption from the American philosopher, Hannah Arendt’s book published in 1963 called ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil’. —. People like to believe the line between good and evil is clear – with them on one side, others always evil.
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