Zitate von Václav Havel

Václav Havel Foto
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Václav Havel

Geburtstag: 5. Oktober 1936
Todesdatum: 18. Dezember 2011
Andere Namen: वैक्लेव हैवेल

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Václav Havel [ˈvaːt͡slaf ˈɦavɛl] war ein tschechischer Dramatiker, Essayist, Menschenrechtler und Politiker, der während der Herrschaft der kommunistischen Partei einer der führenden Regimekritiker der Tschechoslowakei war und zu den Initiatoren der Charta 77 gehörte. Er ist einer der Wegbereiter der deutsch-tschechischen Aussöhnung. Nach der Samtenen Revolution, an der er maßgeblich beteiligt war, war er von 1989 bis 1992 der letzte Staatspräsident der Tschechoslowakei und von 1993 bis 2003 der erste der Tschechischen Republik. Außerdem war er Mitglied in der Schriftstellergemeinde Obec spisovatelů und Ehrenmitglied im Club of Rome.

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Zitate Václav Havel

„Der Prozess der gesamteuropäischen Integration wird offenbar ein sehr kompliziertes, simultanes Spiel auf vielen Schachbrettern zugleich sein.“

—  Václav Havel
Rede im Mai 1991 in Aachen anlässlich seiner Auszeichnung mit dem Karlspreis, karlspreis.de http://www.karlspreis.de/de/preistraeger/1991/rede_von_vaclav_havel.html

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„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, The Power of the Powerless
Living in Truth (1986), The Power of the Powerless, 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.

„Today's world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats. From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility.“

—  Václav Havel
The Onassis Prize For Man and Mankind (1993), Context: Today's world, as we all know, is faced with multiple threats. From whichever angle I look at this menace, I always come to the conclusion that salvation can only come through a profound awakening of man to his own personal responsibility, which is at the same time a global responsibility. Thus, the only way to save our world, as I see it, lies in a democracy that recalls its ancient Greek roots: democracy based on an integral human personality personally answering for the fate of the community.

„Of course, in politics, just as anywhere else in life, it is impossible and it would not be sensible always to say everything bluntly. Yet that does not mean one has to lie. What is needed here are tact, instinct and good taste.“

—  Václav Havel
Context: Despite all the political misery I am confronted with every day, it still is my profound conviction that the very essence of politics is not dirty; dirt is brought in only by wicked people. I admit that this is an area of human activity where the temptation to advance through unfair actions may be stronger than elsewhere, and which thus makes higher demands on human integrity. But it is not true at all that a politician cannot do without lying or intriguing. That is sheer nonsense, often spread by those who want to discourage people from taking an interest in public affairs. Of course, in politics, just as anywhere else in life, it is impossible and it would not be sensible always to say everything bluntly. Yet that does not mean one has to lie. What is needed here are tact, instinct and good taste. International Herald Tribune (29 October 1991)

„This awareness endows us with the capacity for self-transcendence. Politicians at international forums may reiterate a thousand times that the basis of the new world order must be universal respect for human rights, but it will mean nothing as long as this imperative does not derive from the respect of the miracle of Being, the miracle of the universe, the miracle of nature, the miracle of our own existence.“

—  Václav Havel
The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994), Context: A modern philosopher once said: "Only a God can save us now." Yes, the only real hope of people today is probably a renewal of our certainty that we are rooted in the earth and, at the same time, in the cosmos. This awareness endows us with the capacity for self-transcendence. Politicians at international forums may reiterate a thousand times that the basis of the new world order must be universal respect for human rights, but it will mean nothing as long as this imperative does not derive from the respect of the miracle of Being, the miracle of the universe, the miracle of nature, the miracle of our own existence. Only someone who submits to the authority of the universal order and of creation, who values the right to be a part of it and a participant in it, can genuinely value himself and his neighbors, and thus honor their rights as well.

„This forgotten awareness is encoded in all religions. All cultures anticipate it in various forms. It is one of the things that form the basis of man's understanding of himself, of his place in the world, and ultimately of the world as such.“

—  Václav Havel
The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994), Context: What makes the Anthropic Principle and the Gaia Hypothesis so inspiring? One simple thing: Both remind us, in modern language, of what we have long suspected, of what we have long projected into our forgotten myths and perhaps what has always lain dormant within us as archetypes. That is, the awareness of our being anchored in the earth and the universe, the awareness that we are not here alone nor for ourselves alone, but that we are an integral part of higher, mysterious entities against whom it is not advisable to blaspheme. This forgotten awareness is encoded in all religions. All cultures anticipate it in various forms. It is one of the things that form the basis of man's understanding of himself, of his place in the world, and ultimately of the world as such.

„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
Farewell Address (2003), 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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„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, The Power of the Powerless
Living in Truth (1986), The Power of the Powerless, 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.

„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, book Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the Peace (1986), 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

„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
New Year's Address to the Nation (1990), 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.

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

—  Václav Havel
The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994), 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.

„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.

„An ordinary human being, with a personal conscience, personally answering for something to somebody and personally and directly taking responsibility, seems to be receding farther and farther from the realm of politics.“

—  Václav Havel
The Onassis Prize For Man and Mankind (1993), Context: An ordinary human being, with a personal conscience, personally answering for something to somebody and personally and directly taking responsibility, seems to be receding farther and farther from the realm of politics. Politicians seem to turn into puppets that only look human and move in a giant, rather inhuman theatre; they appear to become merely cogs in a huge machine, objects of a major civilizational automatism which has gotten out of control and for which nobody is responsible.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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