Vaclav Havel

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Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel

A state that denies its citizens their basic rights becomes a danger to its neighbors as well: internal arbitrary rule will be reflected in arbitrary external relations. The suppression of public opinion, the abolition of public competition for power and its public exercise opens the way for the state power to arm itself in any way it sees fit. A state that does not hesitate to lie to its own people will not hesitate to lie to other states.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations. Without internal peace, that is, peace among citizens and between the citizens and the state, there can be no guarantee of external peace.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Just as the constant increase of entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to be ever more highly structured and to struggle against entropy.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The law is only one of several imperfect and more or less external ways of defending what is better in life against what is worse. By itself, the law can never create anything better. Establishing respect for the law does not automatically ensure a better life for that, after all, is a job for people and not for laws and institutions.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
None of us know all the potentialities that slumber in the spirit of the population, or all the ways in which that population can surprise us when there is the right interplay of events.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have -- by disrupting that order -- a way of surprising.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
If every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he unhesitatingly gives answers to questionnaires which are contrary to his real opinions and is prepared to deny his own self in public, if he sees no difficulty in feigning sympathy or even affection where, in fact, he feels only indifference or aversion, it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
People who live in the post-totalitarian system know only too well that the question of whether one or several political parties are in power, and how these parties define and label themselves, is of far less importance than the question of whether or not it is possible to live like a human being.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin -- and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Twenty or thirty years ago, in the army, we had a lot of obscure adventures, and years later we tell them at parties, and suddenly we realize that those two very difficult years of our lives have become lumped together into a few episodes that have lodged in our memory in a standardized form, and are always told in a standardized way, in the same words. But in fact that lump of memories has nothing whatsoever to do with our experience of those two years in the army and what it has made of us.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
A human action becomes genuinely important when it springs from the soil of a clear-sighted awareness of the temporality and the ephemerally of everything human. It is only this awareness that can breathe any greatness into an action.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
You do not become a dissident just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.More Vaclav Havel [01/01/2000 12:01:00]
Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don't, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:49]
Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:31]
If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:59]
Lying can never save us from another lie.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:23]
Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren't in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:48]
The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:30]
There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:36]
There's always something suspect about an intellectual on the winning side.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:44]
When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete.More Vaclav Havel [08/13/2011 05:08:58]

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