The natality of human beings allows them to make new beginnings. And so it prevents us to disintegrate into routinized behavior. It gives hope. And it is freedom. Freedom for Arendt is not simply liberty from outside forces or private necessities, but a freedom enabled by natality, by the capacity to make beginnings, a freedom expressed in action.
In ‘The Human Condition’ she distinguishes three basic human activities: labor, work and action. Labor is judged by its ability to sustain human life, to cater to our biological needs of consumption and reproduction. Work is judged by its ability to build and maintain a world fit for human use. It is the economic. It is the world of project management and efficiency to put it in a simple way. And action is judged by its ability to disclose the identity of the agent, to affirm the reality of the world, and to actualize our capacity for freedom. It is the world of sense making and co-creation in which we have to deal with and use plurality, the fact that we all were born different (listen to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this way’).
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.
Dirk De Schutter, Remi Peeters, ‘Hannah Arendt, politiek denker’, 2015.