MARIA POPOVA, ‘Hannah Arendt on Love and How to Live with the Fundamental Fear of Loss’,, Brain Pickings (2019/02/25)


It was from Augustine that she borrowed the phrase amor mundi — “love of the world” — which would become a defining feature of her philosophy. Occupied by questions of why we succumb to and normalize evil, Arendt identified as the root of tyranny the act of making other human beings irrelevant. Again and again, she returned to Augustine for the antidote: love. (…) For all of the political and philosophical wisdom she draws from it, Augustine’s Confessions is animated by his experience of personal love — that eternal force that governs the Sun and the Moon and the stars of our interior lives, reflected and codified in our cultural and social structures. (…) For, as Augustine writes, love is “a kind of motion, and all motion is toward something.” What determines the motion of desire is always previously given. Our craving aims at a world we know; it does not discover anything new. (…) Craving, or love, is a human being’s possibility of gaining possession of the good that will make him happy. (…) But a love predicated on possession, Arendt cautions, inevitably turns into fear — the fear of losing what was gained. (…) So long as we desire temporal things, we are constantly under this threat, and our fear of losing always corresponds to our desire to have. Temporal goods originate and perish independently of man, who is tied to them by his desire. Constantly bound by craving and fear to a future full of uncertainties, we strip each present moment of its calm, its intrinsic import, which we are unable to enjoy. And so, the future destroys the present. (…) If presence — the removal of expectancy — is a prerequisite for a true experience of love, then time is the elemental infrastructure of love. (…) Desire mediates between subject and object, and it annihilates the distance between them by transforming the subject into a lover and the object into the beloved. For the lover is never isolated from what he loves; he belongs to it…

Meer Hannah Arendt

Leander Tijdhof, ‘Hannah Arendt – Betekenis voor de haptonomie’,, Uitgeverij De Wilg, Annen, 2016