The Origins of Totalitarianism By Hannah Arendt: Reading and Meditation

December 16, 2020  • Executive Leadership Seminars Department

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At least once a day in recent days, I hear a friend or loved one bemoan that the state of divisiveness has never been so terrible. Political divisions in the United States and across the globe feel deeply rooted in a way we, thankfully, do not recognize. Hannah Arendt’s 1951 book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, however, depicts a society grappling with a divisiveness that could easily be describing our world today. 

There is power in the recognition that history repeats itself. But how can we wield this knowledge in a way to protect society and its institutions? How can we prevent ourselves from taking refuge in cynicism? Each of us is responsible for educating ourselves – what does it mean to you to seek truth? What are you struggling to make sense of today, and how might you wield the power of fact and history to better understand it?

Brianna Curran, Washington, DC

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