Nick’s category for thinkers that he either disagrees with or finds fundamentally annoying or both, but who become indispensable for his thinking on one or more subjects. The first and strongest enemy (i.e., with whom the love-hate relationship is strongest) for Nick is Hannah Arendt, whose assumptions and conclusions caused him to frequently throw her books across the room while reading them for his Arendt class with Lewis Gordon. However, he soon found that her concepts and some of her arguments were also ineluctable parts of his mental furniture—such that it was impossible to think about politics without thinking in Arendtian terms. Other possible enemies include Nietzsche and Dewey, who was previously an unadulterated hero, but whom Nick has developed serious concerns about.
Key for understanding enemy-necessity is something that Nick (boy, the third person was a shitty choice for this entry) was told about Arendt by Vincent Harding : one must think of her work either as a field of shit in which a very beautiful flower is located, or as wrestling with an angel, like Jacob in the biblical passage, refusing to let go until one has received its blessing.

  • Walter Lippmann, in Burniske and Monke, Breaking Down the Digital Walls : Learning to Teach in a Post-modem World, p.4—The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opponents than from his fervent supports. For his supporters will push him to disaster unless his opponents show him where the dangers are. So if he is wise he will often pray to be delivered from his friends, because they will ruin him. But, though it hurts, he ought also to pray never to be left without opponents; for they keep him on the path of reason and good sense. (1984, 501)