Arendt Paper Essay Research Paper Arendt s

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Arendt Paper Essay, Research Paper Arendt s Understanding of Public Spaces This critical essay is about Arendt s understanding of public spaces. In this essay I will show how she understands the distinction between action, labor, and work and the relation between freedom, power and action. In the conclusion of this essay, I will show that the city of Chicago in both its architecture and its public spaces does not exhibit Arendt s notion of the public. Labor is the activity which corresponds to the biological process of the human body, whose spontaneous growth, metabolism, and eventual decay are bound to the vital necessities produced and fed into the life process by labor. In ordinary terms, labor is just life itself. According to Arendt, labor is a necessity that all living

things do to survive and in this, we have no distinction between animals and ourselves. With labor, all we do is produce and consume, keeping to ourselves, not talking to anyone because it is more efficient. In Arendt s point of view, a life devoted to labor is bad because to truly live, according to Arendt, is to become public, to be known, to be recognized, but to stay silent and to your self, you then are never really alive. She also calls labor as repetitive, that is, it is just an endless cycle of consumption and production and it has no beginning nor a future. Work is the activity which corresponds to the unnaturalness of human existence, which is not imbedded in, and whose mortality is not compensated by, the species ever-recurring life cycle. Work provides an artificial

world of things, distinctly different from all natural surroundings. (HC p.7) To Arendt, work is good because it had an endurance that labor did not, work could last over the years, while in labor, you consume as you produce. When a carpenter builds a house, that house can last for hundreds of years, remembered longer than the person who built it, but an apple, only lasts for a short while before it is consumed, forgotten an hour after it was eaten. Work is multiplicity, that is, you do something new every time, it has a beginning and an end, even though the end is outside the actual activity. An example of this would be when a carpenter builds a table, the table is still being used after the builder is done building it, it does not have an end until you break it apart and throw

it away. Action, the only activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter, corresponds to the human condition of plurality, to the fact that men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world. (HC p.7) What Arendt means by this is that we have to go out and be among everyone else, to act, to do something that we are recognized for, or we truly do not live. Action is the disclosure of the who, it tells people who we are, the way we are, it is what makes us immortal, being able to be remembered over the ages. Action has a beginning and an end in itself and gives us the capacity to begin something new. In The Human Condition, Arendt clearly shows that she understands the distinction between action, labor, and work. For Arendt, the world

appears only in work and action, not labor. The rather uncomfortable truth of the matter is that the triumph the modern world has achieved over necessity is due to the emancipation of labor, that is, to the fact that the animal laborans was permitted to occupy the public realm . (HC p.133-134) She later goes on to say that, as long as the animal laborans remains in possession of it, there can be no true public realm, but only private activities displayed in the open. What she is basically saying is that she is very concerned about a society of just consumers because consumption not only destroys freedom, it also gets rid of the public spaces. What used to be private turn into the public realm and the public realm just disappears. Work and action, however, are multiplicities, that