Václav Havel citations

Václav Havel photo
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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.

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Citations Václav Havel

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„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.

„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.

Publicité

„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. Address upon receiving the Open Society Prize awarded by Central European University (24 June 1999) http://old.hrad.cz/president/Havel/speeches/1999/2406_uk.html 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.

„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.

„There can be no doubt that distrust of words is less harmful than unwarranted trust in them.“

—  Václav Havel
Context: There can be no doubt that distrust of words is less harmful than unwarranted trust in them. Besides, to distrust words, and indict them for the horrors that might slumber unobtrusively within them — isn't this, after all, the true vocation of the intellectual? Speech of October 1989, accepting a peace prize; quoted in The Independent, London (9 December 1989)

„What is needed in politics is not the ability to lie but rather the sensibility to know when, where, how and to whom to say things.“

—  Václav Havel
Context: When a man has his heart in the right place and good taste, he can not only do well in politics but is even predetermined for it. If someone is modest and does not yearn for power, he is certainly not ill-equipped to engage in politics; on the contrary, he belongs there. What is needed in politics is not the ability to lie but rather the sensibility to know when, where, how and to whom to say things. International Herald Tribune (29 October 1991) Variant translation: If your heart is in the right place and you have good taste, not only will you pass muster in politics, you are destined for it. If you are modest and do not lust after power, not only are you suited to politics, you absolutely belong there.

Publicité

„Cultural conflicts are increasing and are understandably more dangerous today than at any other time in history.“

—  Václav Havel
Context: Cultural conflicts are increasing and are understandably more dangerous today than at any other time in history. The end of the era of rationalism has been catastrophic. Armed with the same supermodern weapons, often from the same suppliers, and followed by television cameras, the members of various tribal cults are at war with one another.

„It's not hard to stand behind one's successes. But to accept responsibility for one's failures... that is devishly hard!“

—  Václav Havel
Context: It's not hard to stand behind one's successes. But to accept responsibility for one's failures... that is devishly hard! But only thence does the road lead... to a radically new insight into the mysterious gravity of my existence as an uncertain enterprise and to its transcendental meaning. As quoted in "Václav Havel: Heir to a Spiritual Legacy" by Richard L. Stanger in Christian Century (11 April 1990) http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=767

„Man as an observer is becoming completely alienated from himself as a being.“

—  Václav Havel
Context: The relationship to the world that the modern science fostered and shaped now appears to have exhausted its potential. It is increasingly clear that, strangely, the relationship is missing something. It fails to connect with the most intrinsic nature of reality and with natural human experience. It is now more of a source of disintegration and doubt than a source of integration and meaning. It produces what amounts to a state of schizophrenia: Man as an observer is becoming completely alienated from himself as a being.

„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.“

—  Václav Havel
Context: 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.

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