The Life Of The Mind By Hannah Arendt

992 WordsAug 19, 20154 Pages
Hannah Arendt presents in her novel, The Life of the Mind, a theory she refers to as the “two-in-one.” She builds her theory off of a Socratic proposition. Socrates stated that it would be better for a group of men to be out of tune with each other than for him to be out of tune with himself. Here, however, lies a paradox. How can one be out of tune with itself? Arendt states that “you always need at least two tones to produce a harmonious sound” (183). Yet when you appear to others, you are one, otherwise you would be unrecognizable. But Arendt points out that you do not only appear to others, you also exist and appear for yourself. In doing so, you become more than one. As Arendt paradoxically states, “A difference is inserted into my Oneness” (183). Arendt’s concept of the two-in-one surrounds the act of thinking. She describes the two-in-one as “be[ing] itself and at the same time for itself” (185). You are never truly alone because your Oneness divides into two or more entities that, in a sense, converse with each other. We generally consider ourselves alone when we are not in the company of others, yet Arendt argues that our minds are snapped into Oneness again when we are surrounded by other people. Arendt describes this phenomenon, “Then, when he is called by his name back into the world of appearances, where he is always One, it is as though the two into which the thinking process had split him clapped together again” (185). Arendt admits that thinking is a
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