Wednesday, 18 April 2012

U are the lilly of the valley

For Arendt, being a social outcast did not constitute one as a conscious pariahs, one had to take a stand, to refuse assimilation, and enter the realm of political action. As Young-Bruehl related in her Preface to Hannah Arendt: For the Love of the World, “In Hannah Arendt’s personal lexicon, wirkliche Menschen, real people, were ‘pariahs.’ Her friends were not outcasts, but outsiders, sometimes by choice and sometimes by destiny. In the broadest sense, they were unassimilated. ‘Social nonconformism,’  she once said bluntly, ‘is the sine qua non of intellectual achievement.’ And, she might well have added, also of human dignity” (p. xv). To be a conscious pariah means to think, speak, and act independently of all the forces that demand conformity, whether social, political, or religious. It means to stand triumphantly like a singular white iris amidst a sea of blue flowers, to resist conformity. But, being a conscious pariah also requires action—that peculiar human activity, which Arendt described in The Human Condition as “the only activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter, [and] corresponds to the human condition of plurality, to the fact that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world” (I.1, p. 7). Conscious pariahs, in their courageous non-conformity, remind us of our absolute singularity as human beings, and they resist all forces that seek to obscure or annihilate this singularity.


xtina said...

xtina said...
Judith Butler