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ERIC Number: EJ1018864
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1474-0222
The Evil of Banality: Arendt Revisited
Minnich, Elizabeth
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, v13 n1-2 p158-179 Feb-Apr 2014
"The banality of evil" (Arendt) remains controversial and useful. Ironically, the concept is now itself a banality. To revisit and extend it, we consider the "evil of banality", the profound dangers of cliched thoughtlessness. A distinction is proposed: "intensive" versus "extensive evils". The former takes few people and is readily romanticized as demonic. The latter takes many people over time and is badly misunderstood if romanticized: it requires many reliable workers. The paper introduces the "continuum of attentiveness" in relation to the doing of evil or good (from Eichmann and Saddam Hussein's obtuse thoughtlessness, to the poet Wislawa Szymborska's astonishment at the ordinary). Education, especially in the Humanities, may be our last best hope to teach people to think, to see, and to resist the evils enabled by banality.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A