Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 226
The Human Condition, by Hannah Arendt, is a philosophical exploration of two questions: What is the meaning of life and what does it mean to be human? Rather than provide an analysis of human nature, however, she explores what it means to be human by using examples of human activity. Arendt’s analysis of human activity explores the question of choice, the inevitability of death, and the viability of the quest for immortality. To illustrate this quest, she discusses the scientific mission to conquer space, which she claims reflects the human desire to leave Earth and travel to a new dimension. She also discusses this experience of labor, which she claims humans engage in solely to sustain themselves.
In her analysis of the human condition, Arendt attempts to make sense of life experiences by exploring the activities we elevate to importance and the conditions we create. She stresses the importance of purposeful thinking in directing our actions and defining our goals. Arendt asserts that the motivations for human labor inhibit our desire to create, and thus sabotage our ability to fulfill our purpose as human beings. She also claims that the space race represents the quest to recreate the world we live in. Thus, she questions the purpose of scientific endeavor and explores its inadequacy in promoting an understanding of anything larger than the endeavor itself.