Volo ut sis: Bumper Sticker #14

The name Hannah Arendt has been familiar to me for a long time, but I only recently got around to reading some of the famous historian’s work. In this case, it was her 1950 tome entitled The Origins of Totalitarianism. I wasn’t so much interested in totalitarianism as in her discussion of human rights and the terrible impact political systems tend to have on such a concept. In a beautiful section, she defines human rights as “mere existence,” and elaborates in some of the most poetic language I’ve ever read in a history text: Human rights, this “mere existence,…all that which is mysteriously given us by birth and which includes the shape of our bodies and the talents of our minds, can be adequately dealt with only by the unpredictable hazards of friendship or sympathy, or by the great and incalculable grace of love, which says with [St.]Augustine, ‘volo ut sis (I want you to be),’ without being able to give any particular reason for such supreme and unsurpassable affirmation.”

Seems to me that we, especially at the moment, could benefit from absorbing the good saint’s thoughts and beaming them out to every human being on earth. (I wish Donald Trump would read this 🙂 So, Bumper Sticker #14 reads:

Volo ut sis: I want you to BE. –St. Augustine 


One comment

  1. Judy Williams · July 19, 2016

    I want you to be… If we could all live with this one thought in mind, what a world we’d share! Thank you for sharing this beautiful thought.


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