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.
Vaclav Havel Quotes
How much trust or even admiration for the Western peace movement can we expect from a simple yet sensitive citizen of Eastern Europe when he has noticed that this movement has never, at any of its congresses or at demonstrations involving hundreds or thousands of participants, got around to protesting the fact that five years […]
The role of the intellectual is to warn, to predict horrors, to be a Cassandra who tells us what is going on outside the walls of the city… the intellectual should constantly disturb, should bear witness to the misery of the world, should be provocative by being independent… should be the chief doubter of systems […]
Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
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. […]
So far, you (dictator Gustav Husak of Czechoslovakia).and your government have chosen the easy way out for yourselves, and the most dangerous road for society: the path of inner decay for the sake of outward appearances; of deadening life for the sake of increasing uniformity; of deepening the spiritual and moral crisis of our society, […]
The previous regime reduced man to a means of production and nature to a tool of production. Thus it attacked both their very essence and their mutual relationship. It reduced gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts in some monstrously huge, noisy, and stinking machine.