So just how much do you want to study philosophy?

Hannah Arendt to Mary McCarthy, August 20, 1954

At the moment, translating the old book [The Origins of Totalitarianism] into German, I am unhappy and impatient to get back to what I really want to do [likely her reflections on labor, work, and action]—if I can do it. But that is minor, I mean whether or not I am capable of doing what I want to do. Heinrich [Blücher] has a wonderful advice to give to his students when they talk about studying philosophy: he tells them you can do it only if you know that the most important thing in your life would be to succeed in this and the second most important thing, almost as important, to fail in precisely this.