The Human Condition

Arendt once said that action is “the actualization of the human condition of natality” and speech is “the actualization of the human condition of plurality” (The Human Condition 178).  This statement means that speech makes people unique, and that, in a sense, people can experience a rebirth through their actions.

On page 177 of The Human Condition, Arendt states that action is the ability to begin something, or take an initiative.  When man was created, he was born with an inherent freedom.  This freedom, given to us at birth, allows us to initiate something that was not before, through our actions.  Because of the intrinsic power of freedom and the fact that humans are capable of action, we can expect the unexpected from people (The Human Condition 178).  A perfect example of this is the element of surprise.  Humans have the ability to surprise and to be surprised because every human has a complete freedom of choice.  The freedom of choice makes humans unpredictable because we never really know how a person will act, or how that person will respond when acted upon.  Without our aforementioned freedom, we as humans would all act in the same manner.

Human beings have the ability to give themselves a second unnatural, biological birth through their actions.  This, in turn, distances them from nature because their actions inspire change.  Our actions can also modify what is given to us at birth (The Human Condition 178).  For example, I am naturally inclined to feel shy around new people; I have always felt this way, which leads me to believe that I was born this way.  I cannot help that I feel shy around new people, I just do.  Through action, I can put myself in a situation that is outside my comfort level in an attempt to become more extroverted.  If I continue to do this, it may be possible for me to alter my nature so that one day, I will not feel shy around new people any more.

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