Accueil > Citations > Between Past and Future, Preface: The gap between past and future (1961) – Hannah Arendt

Between Past and Future, Preface: The gap between past and future (1961) – Hannah Arendt

Only insofar as he thinks, and that is insofar as he is ageless – a “he” as Kafka so rightly calls him, and not a “somebody” – does man in the full actuality of his concrete being live in this gap of time between past and future. The gap, I suspect, is not a modern phenomenon, it is perhaps not even a historical datum but is coeval with the existence of man on earth. It may well be the region of the spirit or, rather, the path paved by thinking, this small track of non-time which the activity of thought beats within the time-space of mortal men and into which the trains of thought, of remembrance and anticipation, save whatever they touch from the ruin of historical and biographical time. This small non-time-space in the very heart of time, unlike the world and the culture into which we are born, can only be indicated, but cannot be inherited and handed down from the past; each new generation, indeed every new human being as he inserts himself between an infinite past and an infinite future, must discover and poddingly pave anew.

 

 

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