What puzzles me about Arendt and Eichmann in Jerusalem

After reading the material  I have posted on,I saw that Arendt  believed Eichmann was not psychotic or crazy.She said he “did not think”.It puzzle me because one factor above all would seem to me to be relevant.That if a senior Nazi had decided he  did not agree with the Final Solution or any policy of the Nazis he would have been shot and/or his family would have been attacked.So fear would have played a  major role even if he had wished to stop what he ws doing.A big factor that allows humans to murder others en masse like the witches is to define them as somehow not human.And secondly to criticize their behaviour when it is cause by the conditions they are forced to live in.Jews were moneylenders because Christians were not allowed to do it [ charging interest was not allowed them]Being  rather intelligent some Jews became wealthy and were criticised as being only interested in money,grasping and avaricious.Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.Now in the UK this is happening to the sick,poor and unemployed.Scapegoats are attacked when times are hard. Whenever people meet a murderer they are surprised how normal they look.And other people look weird but are in fact good and kind,maybe a little handicapped in some way or just eccentric.Judging by appearances is an error; and especially if they are first  impressions

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “What puzzles me about Arendt and Eichmann in Jerusalem

  1. Okay. I see you’re really trying to understand Arendt. Well, she had an axe to grind. She loved one of these fools who posed as a philosopher and thought all the time, but admired the Nazis. Eichmann wasn’t psychotic. He wasn’t crazy in any way. He was a clerk who did his job, but he did it better than all the others around him. He thought all the time, to advance the objectives of his employers and leaders. He wasn’t afraid at all. He had nothing to be afraid of, because he was working in a closed system. And truly, he thought the Jews were like cockroaches or rats… beings that threatened the welfare of the society he believed in. So he did his best to create an operating system that would get rid of them. Arendt was one of those who ‘think too much’; who are enamored with their own speculations and definitions of terms. And because she was Jewish, and ostensibly one of the victims, she was able to sell her books and ideas in which she whitewashed the criminals. Her efforts were pathetic, and her contribution to a philosophical understanding of what happened during that period are negligible.

    • Thank you very much,Shimon.You know,I had a certain idea of Arendt which was positive but based on little knowledge.And I have been resisting the idea that she was not what I had believed,But as I thought about what I read I realised she was quite different.I suppose I did not want to think this
      about her but the evidence seems plain
      I was attracted to Levinas because had the mind of a philosopher but the living experience of a Jew who lost all his family except his wife and daughter.That made him realise Heidegger’s philosophy was flawed.
      Ethics and our duty to the Other was his starting point I think.
      I see now why you are critical of thinking.It has to be linked to judgment and a sense of values.
      I am finding it hard work to read all this material.But it made me discover academics are not always to be admired.I find some less educated people have better feeling of what is important.Academics write to promote themselves sometimes or to further their careers.
      My eyes have opened , a little unwillingly,But they have opened and many more questions enter into my mind

      • You have to keep in mind that there are good academics, a very few brilliant ones… and a lot of uninspired ones who see the academia as a secure profession, and are tagging along for the ride. There are A students and C students. What you said about values is the key to understanding thinking. Schemers are thinkers too. Uninspiring thinkers. It is easy but uninspiring to judge people just by their intelligence. There are a lot of other characteristics that make a human being. When looking at history, we realize that a great part of it is the body of society in which people lived. Now and then we encounter someone who was able to step out of his context and contribute a worthwhile something to humanity as a whole, or develop something entirely personal that was out of context. But most people are part of their social and physical environment and influenced by the prevailing prejudices and conventions.

      • You are perfectly correct

    • I am not Jewish but it pains me to even see those above words about them.But it’s happened throughout history.People saw the Poor as different and said they needed no shoes as they did not feel the cold [In Victorian England]

  2. I began this by reading about Levinas who to me was perhaps one of those special people who did utterly alter Philosophy.Yet before the WW2 he admired Heidegger greatly as did many others.He was thought of as a truly
    great thinker.After the War Levinas rethought everything.That made me think about Heidegger and wonder why he was so foolish….and then Arendt who was his student, and lover and is now greatly admired in the West.
    It seems values are important but perception is equally so……………And there are mental mechanisms by which we can block things from our minds,as Freud discusses…
    Thinking … is that secondary to Perception? And to one’s values and even the kind of person one is,morally speaking?I just read about Peter Lomas who was a therapist and liked Levinas.He began to see that the morality of the therapist was important.Not sticking to rules,but the kind of person one is.It seems obvious,in a sense.
    I just received the book Introduction to Levinas today…

  3. Pingback: A very good and rightly criticaI review of the film about Hannah Arendt | Cool lady blog

  4. Pingback: I had finished with Arendt but came across another good article | Cool lady blog

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