Ideology and Terror - Part Four Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Arendt closes her essay by returning to her question from the first section. What basic experience of living-together corresponds to that of terror, and to the icy logicality of ideology? Totalitarianism is new, but it must be based on something pre-existing in the lives of individuals. It must answer some kind of need.

Terror can only rule over individuals who are isolated from one another, and that is one of the main goals of tyrannical government: to destroy mutual trust, and to emphasize the helplessness of the individual.

Nonetheless, the tyrannical governments of the past left the sphere of private life untouched. Private life is the capacity for personal experience, invention and thought. In contrast to mere tyranny, terror destroys private life. But terror is only possible, in turn, when the experience of being alone with oneself has already become unbearable—when private...

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This section contains 1,606 words
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