The VITA ACTIVA
In her main work ‘The Human Condition’, Arendt builds on the thinking of Aristotle and describes the ‘VITA ACTIVA’ as the three distinct ‘active human conditions’:
Labor – life itself – the continuity of seeding, growing, harvesting, feeding, biology, or in modern times – consumption.
Work – stands for mortality- through work we erect an ‘artificial’ world through the creation of immortal structures.
Action – natality – the ability to start something new through action and speech. Action is always political – by acting we distinguish ourselves – we show our true identity.
The ability to Act, is what makes us human. According to Arendt, Acting is always political. Starting something new in your private life is not acting. Every single individual has the right to act as long as he ‘speaks’ about it. But ‘To Act’ requires insight and great courage. Running processes and structures make it difficult to reflect and make up your own mind. In a democracy, the ‘power of the many’ renders it very difficult to act. The one who dares to act deliberately takes the risk to become a ‘paria’.