Václav Havel


The Power of the Powerless, pp. 69-70

[...] There is no way around it: no matter how beautiful an alternative political model may be, it can no longer speak to the `hidden sphere', inspire people and society, call for real political ferment. The real sphere of potential politics in the post-totalitarian system is elsewhere: in the continuing and cruel tension between the complex demands of that system and the aims of life, that is, the elementary need of human beings to live, to a certain extent at least, in harmony with themselves, that is, to live in a bearable way, not to be humiliated by their superiors and officials, not to be continually watched by the police, to be able to express themselves freely, to find an outlet for their creativity, to enjoy legal security, and so on. Anything that touches this field concretely, anything that relates to this fundamental, omnipresent and living tension, will inevitably speak to people. Abstract projects for an ideal political and economic order do not interest them to anything like the same extent - and rightly so - not only because everyone knows how little chance they have of succeeding, but also because today people feel that the less political policies are derived from a concrete and human `here and now' and the more they fix their sights on an abstract `someday', the more easily they can degenerate into new forms of human enslavement. 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. [...]


The Power of the Powerless, p. 71

[...] If a better economic and political model is to be created, then perhaps more than ever before it must derive from profound existential and moral changes in society. This is not something that can be designed and introduced like a new car. If it is to be more than just a new variation on an old degeneration, it must above all be an expression of life in the process of transforming itself. [...]


Thriller, p. 159

[...] I am unwilling to believe that this whole civilization is no more than a blind alley of history and a fatal error of the human spirit. More probably it represents a necessary phase that man and humanity must go through, one that man - if he survives - will ultimately, and on some higher level (unthinkable, of course, without the present phase), transcend. [...]

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