March 10, 1971
Hannah Arendt, author and political theorist, gave the Helen Kenyon Lecture, entitled, "Thinking and Moral Considerations." Arendt's remarks on the conflict between the incessant and spontaneous "need to think"—practically, "good for nothing"—and its pragmatic product, knowing, "no less a world-building activity than the buliding of houses," were the core of an essay of the same name published the following fall. Linking "consciouness" with "conscience"—as, she noted, the French language does—Arendt observed in conclusion: "If thinking, the two-in-one of the soundless dialogue, actualizes the difference within our identity as given in consciousness and thereby results in conscience as its by-product, then judging, the by-product of the liberating effect of thinking, realizes thinking, makes it manifest in the world of appearances.... The manifestation of the wind of thought is no knowledge; it is the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly."
"The concept of conscience developed in the lecture," wrote Lilly Russow '71, in The Miscellany News, "is closely tied to the activity of thinking....Ms Arendt believes that thinking prevents man from doing evil. Thinking leads to the dalogue between the parts of the self which she terms conscience." Hannah Arendt, "Thinking and Moral Considerations," Social Research, vol. 38, no.3, (Autumn, 1971), The Miscellany News
The Helen Kenyon Lectureship Fund was established June 7, 1939 by the Associate Alumnae, the Class of 1905 and other friends of Helen Kenyon, '05, as a contribution to the 75thanniversary fund. Miss Kenyon was an alumnae trustee from 1923 until 1928 and Chairman of the Board from 1929 until 1939.