By Patricia Bowen-Moore
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Extra info for Hannah Arendt’s Philosophy of Natality
Of the myriad examples we can cite from the play activity we highlight only those which are a prelude to the political. Play inserts the child into a world of make-believe where he can prescribe his own rules and design his own parameters. The child creates an imaginative world where he can rollick in the fun of imitating and mimicking the adult world with the pure delight that comes with knowing that the burdens of this 'other world' are not his. Play is an activity by which the child privately experiments with self-expression without having to answer to others for his deeds and words.
The context for man's principle of beginning is factual birth into a time continuum which situates the beginner in the condition of temporality, but we have also seen that, according to Arendt, the beginner is born in possession of a faculty for novelty. The beginner has a beginning in a time order and it is in this structure that his faculty for beginning can be realised. This fact establishes the contemporary condition of primary natality: that factual event which inaugurates beginnings in the world because beginnings belong to its essential structure as a specifically human reality.
Always do your best and to be the best of all, but also fear or distrust or hatred', are instances of principles which can inspire action of one sort or another since we, as potential actors, have witnessed or heard tell of the manifestation of these principles within human experience. 22 In this way, they can inspire us 'from without' and, in so doing, activate our unique and unexchangeable capacity for beginning. And because no one actor or action can ever exhaust the meaning of such principles - 'the principle of an action can be repeated time and time again, it is inexhaustible' - inspiring principles are in and of themselves indispensable for beginnings and so for freedom.