36 Important Vaclav Havel Quotes For Your History And Politics Studies

Quotes that help in your studies of political science
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Vaclav Havel, the president of Czechoslovakia at the time of its dissolution in 1992, served as the first President of the Czech Republic till 2003.

Vaclav Havel was initially a playwright who later wrote many books in Czech, from which they were translated to multiple languages. His works and speeches majorly reflect his political ideology apart from his ideals on humanitarianism, which is summarized in the list of quotes compiled below.

If you are interested in reading more quotes, you may want to go through our articles on Thomas Sankara quotes and [activism quotes].

Vaclav Havel 'Power Of The Powerless' Quotes

Famous quotes from Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic.

The book 'The Power Of The Powerless' contains some insightful quotes from a politician's perspective.

1."In everyone there is some willingness to merge with the anonymous crowd and to flow comfortably along with it down the river of pseudo-life."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

2."If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

3."Solzhenitsyn's expulsion was something else: a desperate attempt to plug up the dreadful wellspring of truth, a truth which might cause incalculable transformations in social consciousness, which in turn might one day produce political debacles unpredictable in their consequences."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

4."We know from a number of harsh experiences that neither reform nor change is in itself a guarantee of anything."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

5."The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

6."The principles of control and discipline ought to be abandoned in favor of self-control and self-discipline."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

7."Ideology, in creating a bridge of excuses between the system and the individual, spans the abyss between the aims of the system and the aims of life."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

8."Are not these informed, nonbureaucratic, dynamic, and open communities that comprise the 'parallel polis' a kind of rudimentary prefiguration, a symbolic model of those more meaningful 'post-democratic' political structures that might become the foundation of a better society?"

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

9."I have long since come to realize, however, that it is just not that simple and that no opposition party in and of itself, just as no new electoral laws in and of themselves, could make society proof against some new form of violence."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

10." Do not these 'post-democratic' relationships of immediate personal trust and the informal rights of individuals based on them come out of the background of all those commonly shared difficulties?"

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

11."The leader's authority ought to derive from their personalities and be personally tested in their particular surroundings, and not from their position in any nomenklatura."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

12."Historical experience teaches us that any genuinely meaningful point of departure in an individuals life usually has an element of universality about it."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

13."People are manipulated in ways that are infinitely more subtle and refined than the brutal methods used in the post-totalitarian societies."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

14."Adaptation is the positive dimension of the regime's response, and it can, and usually does, have a wide spectrum of forms and phases."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

15."Power shifts at the center of the bloc can influence conditions in the different countries in various ways."

-Vaclav Havel, 'The Power Of The Powerless'.

Vaclav Havel Quotes On Hope

The clarity of thought of the visionary leader is visualized in these famous quotes on 'hope'.

16."Hope is not the same thing as optimism.  It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."

-Vaclav Havel, 'Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvížďala', (English translation of the book written in Czech).

17."Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties?  Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity."

-Vaclav Havel.

18."Hope… is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed."

-Vaclav Havel, 'Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvížďala'.

19."Hope is the deep orientation of the human soul that can be held at the darkest times."

-Vaclav Havel.

20."Hope is not a feeling of certainty that everything ends well. Hope is just a feeling that life and work have a meaning."

-Vaclav Havel.

21."It is also this hope, above all, that gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.”

-Vaclav Havel, 'Disturbing The Peace'.

Vaclav Havel Famous Quotes On Humanitarianism

The author and president share with us his wisdom through the following words.

22."The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, human meekness and human responsibility."

-Vaclav Havel, Speech to U.S. Congress, 22 February 1990.

23."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."

-Vaclav Havel.

24."The period you grow up in and mature in always influence your thinking. This in itself requires no self-criticism. What is more important is how you have allowed yourself to be influenced, whether by good or evil."

-Vaclav Havel, 'Living In Truth'.

25."Truth lies not only in what is said, but also in who says it, to whom, why, how and under what circumstances."

-Václav Havel, Letters to Olga: June 1979-September 1982.

26."You can't spend your whole life criticizing something and then, when you have the chance to do it better, refuse to go near it."

-Vaclav Havel.

27."Keep the company of those who seek the truth- run from those who have found it."

-Vaclav Havel.

28."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."

-Vaclav Havel.

29."Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not."

-Vaclav Havel.

30."Lying can never save us from another lie."

-Vaclav Havel.

31."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."

-Vaclav Havel.

Quotes On Environmentalism

The following Vaclav Havel quotes talk about how our existence affects the environment.

32."We are still under the sway of the destructive and thoroughly vain belief that man is the pinnacle of creation and not just a part of it, and that therefore everything is permitted to him. . . . We are still destroying the planet that was entrusted to us."

-Vaclav Havel, Speech to U.S. Congress, 22 February 1990.

33."It cannot suffice to invent new machines, new regulations, new institutions. It is necessary to change and improve our understanding of the true purpose of what we are and what we do in the world."

-Vaclav Havel.

Quotes From A Statesman's Point Of View

A true political leader views a nation as a single entity and works for its peace and prosperity.  Here are some quotes that appeal not just to individuals but to a nation as a whole.

34."No matter what position individuals hold in the hierarchy of power, they are not considered by the system to be worth anything in themselves, but only as things intended to fuel and serve this automatism."

-Vaclav Havel.

35."Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations."

-Vaclav Havel.

36."Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs."

-Vaclav Havel.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Vaclav Havel Quotes,  then why not take a look at Thurgood Marshall quotes, or [civil rights quotes].

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