Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Babette Babich reviews von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt.
[The film] seems to advance the claim that the problem with Eichmann for Arendt was just that claimed indictment of non-thinking. Writing that we today do not think, indicting even the highest of our intellectual institutions,Heidegger contends irritatingly that modern “science doesn’t think.” Thus, as Heidegger repeated this in his What is Called Thinking, the first course he taught when he regained his right to teach after being stripped of this right after the war, we are “still” not thinking. Not thinking? Of course we are thinking. And what could saying that we don’t think possibly mean with respect to anybody, much less Eichmann? To explain this, commentators in the New York Times and other periodicals like The New Yorker, which gets as much billing in the film as Mary McCarthy, Jonas, or any other player, would either denounce the formula and so have done with it, or else simply refer to Heidegger in order to have done with it. As if referring to Heidegger and to the initial professor-student encounter as von Trotta depicted in her film, wanting to learn to think, as the youthful Arendt conveys this wish in the office of the dissonantly “young” Professor Heidegger, to hear in reply what could only have been an enormously seductive reply: “thinking is a lonely business.”
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