I’ve tried to find more on “spontaneity” in Arendt and Fanon. I’ve ultimately found more of her criticisms on Fanon’s necessary violence. This quote is from an essay I’m using.
- “Her reading of Fanon is frequently qualified by a tendency to accuse other members ofthe existentialist tradition with which she identifies Fanon, as being more extreme than Fanon himself.” (Arendt contra Fanon)
But her idea of freedom and action are oppositional to Fanon’s. In fact, they converge at points in interesting ways. Take for example her quote from On Violence:
What makes a man a political being is his faculty of action; it enables him to get together with his peers, to act in concert, and to reach out for goals and enterprises that would never enter his mind, let alone the desires ofhis heart, had he not been given this gift — to embark on something new.Philosophically speaking, to act is the human answer to the condition of natality (142).
I’m having trouble with Arendt’s idea of freedom and action. I think she may be obsessed with Kant, leading her to conclude that
freedom is no more ascertainable to the inner sense and within the field of inner experience than it is to the sense with which we know and understand the world (151, Between Past and Future)
freedom is primarily experienced in action (151)
Really though? Freedom is only actualized, or experienced through action? Perhaps, but what would Fanon say about the psychic effects of colonialism? I don’t like her notion of freedom being purely active. Freedom is also a thought, and perhaps an affect. Yes, freedom is relational, but it almost sounds like action is synonymous with changing matter, ie. materialism. For Fanon, would freedom, in its psychic and material forms, be the revolutionary achievement that would follow after the violent actions to overthrow colonialism?
I suppose she’s less concerned with the “inner life” or “the life of the mind” here. I’m trying to find her quote about spontaneity and read it against Fanon’s idea of spontaneity in Wretched of the Earth.