Václav Havel citations

Václav Havel foto
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Václav Havel

Date de naissance: 5. octobre 1936
Date de décès: 18. décembre 2011
Autres noms:वैक्लेव हैवेल

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Václav Havel , né le 5 octobre 1936 à Prague et mort le 18 décembre 2011 à Hrádeček , est un dramaturge, essayiste et homme d'État tchécoslovaque puis tchèque.

Durant la période communiste, il est une des figures de l'opposition à la République socialiste tchécoslovaque en tant que membre de la Charte 77. En 1989, il est une des figures de proue de la révolution de velours, qui met un terme au régime communiste. Il est ensuite président de la République fédérale tchèque et slovaque de 1989 à 1992, puis président de la République tchèque de 1993 à 2003. Politicien atypique, généralement estimé comme une « personnalité extraordinaire » dans son pays, il est souvent appelé le « président-philosophe » et sa vie a été qualifiée d'« œuvre d'art » par l'écrivain Milan Kundera.

Citations Václav Havel

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„We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it.“

— Václav Havel
Context: We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all — though naturally to differing extents — responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery. None of us is just its victim. We are all also its co-creators.

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„The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order.“

— Václav Havel
Context: The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet, I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of a departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world.

„The most important thing is that man should be the measure of all structures, including economic structures, and not that man be made to measure for those structures.“

— Václav Havel
Context: The most important thing is that man should be the measure of all structures, including economic structures, and not that man be made to measure for those structures. The most important thing is not to lose sight of personal relationships — i. e., the relationships between man and his co-workers, between subordinates and their superiors, between man and his work, between this work and its consequences. Ch. 1 : Growing Up "Outside", p. 13

„We should not forget any of those who paid for our present freedom in one way or another.“

— Václav Havel
Context: Those who rebelled against totalitarian rule and those who simply managed to remain themselves and think freely, were all persecuted. We should not forget any of those who paid for our present freedom in one way or another.

„I frequently even took what was clearly a minority position and so reaped more opposition than recognition. Sometimes I may have been mistaken in this but I would like to assure you of one thing: I have always tried to abide by the dictates of the authority under which I took my oath of office — the dictates of the best of my awareness and conscience.“

— Václav Havel
Context: Today I would like to thank from my heart all those of you who have trusted me, sympathized with me or in any way supported me. Without your understanding and goodwill I would not have been able to stay in office for even a few moments. I appreciate your support all the more for the fact that I did not try at all costs to obtain it. I frequently even took what was clearly a minority position and so reaped more opposition than recognition. Sometimes I may have been mistaken in this but I would like to assure you of one thing: I have always tried to abide by the dictates of the authority under which I took my oath of office — the dictates of the best of my awareness and conscience.

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„The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought.“

— Václav Havel
Context: The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension, and for many of us they represented only psychological peculiarities, or they resembled gone-astray greetings from ancient times, a little ridiculous in the era of computers and spaceships.

„His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.“

— Václav Havel
Context: 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.

„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.“

— Václav Havel
Context: 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.

„There are no exact guidelines. There are probably no guidelines at all. The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world.“

— Václav Havel
Context: There are no exact guidelines. There are probably no guidelines at all. The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance. Awareness of all the most dangerous kinds of vanity, both in others and in ourselves. A good mind. A modest certainty about the meaning of things. Gratitude for the gift of life and the courage to take responsibility for it. Vigilance of spirit. [http://old.hrad.cz/president/Havel/speeches/1999/2406_uk.html Address upon receiving the Open Society Prize awarded by Central European University (24 June 1999)] Variant translation: There are no exact directions. There are probably no directions at all. The only things that I am able to recommend at this moment are: a sense of humour; an ability to see the ridiculous and the absurd dimensions of things; an ability to laugh about others as well as about ourselves; a sense of irony; and, of everything that invites parody in this world. In other words: rising above things, or looking at them from a distance; sensibility to the hidden presence of all the more dangerous types of conceit in others, as well as in ourselves; good cheer; an unostentatious certainty of the meaning of things; gratitude for the gift of life and courage to assume responsibility for it; and, a vigilant mind. Those who have not lost the ability to recognize that which is laughable in themselves, or their own nothingness, are not arrogant, nor are they enemies of an Open Society. Its enemy is a person with a fiercely serious countenance and burning eyes.

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