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

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.

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

„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, buch The Power of the Powerless

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

„Experts can explain anything in the objective world to us, yet we understand our own lives less and less. In short, we live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.“

—  Václav Havel

The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994)
Kontext: There appear to be no integrating forces, no unified meaning, no true inner understanding of phenomena in our experience of the world. Experts can explain anything in the objective world to us, yet we understand our own lives less and less. In short, we live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.

„This is the moment when something once more begins visibly to happen, something truly new and unique … something truly historical, in the sense that history again demands to be heard.“

—  Václav Havel

Open letter to Dr. Gustáv Husák, Communist President (8 April 1975)
Kontext: Life cannot be destroyed for good, neither … can history be brought entirely to a halt. A secret streamlet trickles on beneath the heavy lid of inertia and pseudo-events, slowly and inconspicuously undercutting it. It may be a long process, but one day it must happen: the lid will no longer hold and will start to crack. This is the moment when something once more begins visibly to happen, something truly new and unique … something truly historical, in the sense that history again demands to be heard.

„What I am about to say may sound provocative, but I feel more and more strongly that even these ideas are not enough, that we must go farther and deeper.“

—  Václav Havel

The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994)
Kontext: I am referring to respect for the unique human being and his or her liberties and inalienable rights and to the principle that all power derives from the people. I am, in short, referring to the fundamental ideas of modern democracy.
What I am about to say may sound provocative, but I feel more and more strongly that even these ideas are not enough, that we must go farther and deeper.

„There is only one Art, whose sole criterion is the power, the authenticity, the revelatory insight, the courage and suggestiveness with which it seeks its truth.“

—  Václav Havel

"Six Asides About Culture"
Living in Truth (1986)
Kontext: There is only one Art, whose sole criterion is the power, the authenticity, the revelatory insight, the courage and suggestiveness with which it seeks its truth. … Thus, from the standpoint of the work and its worth it is irrelevant to which political ideas the artist as a citizen claims allegiance, which ideas he would like to serve with his work or whether he holds any such ideas at all.

„An amalgamation of cultures is taking place. I see it as proof that something is happening, something is being born, that we are in a phase when one age is succeeding another, when everything is possible.“

—  Václav Havel

The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994)
Kontext: An amalgamation of cultures is taking place. I see it as proof that something is happening, something is being born, that we are in a phase when one age is succeeding another, when everything is possible. Yes, everything is possible, because our civilization does not have its own unified style, its own spirit, its own aesthetic.

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„A year ago, we all were united in the joy over having broken free of totalitarianism. Today we all are made somewhat nervous by the burden of freedom.“

—  Václav Havel

New Year's Address to the Nation (1991)
Kontext: A year ago, we all were united in the joy over having broken free of totalitarianism. Today we all are made somewhat nervous by the burden of freedom. Our society is still in a state of shock. This shock could have been expected, but none of us expected it to be so profound. The old system collapsed, and a new one so far has not been built. Our social life is marked by a subliminal uncertainty over what kind of system we are going to build, how to build it, and whether we are able to build it at all.

„I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended.“

—  Václav Havel

The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994)
Kontext: I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Today, many things indicate that we are going thorough a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.

„Our country, if that is what we want, can now permanently radiate love, understanding, the power of the spirit and of ideas.“

—  Václav Havel

New Year's Address to the Nation (1990)
Kontext: Our country, if that is what we want, can now permanently radiate love, understanding, the power of the spirit and of ideas. It is precisely this glow that we can offer as our specific contribution to international politics.

„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)
Kontext: 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.

„It is not true that people of high principles are ill-suited for politics.“

—  Václav Havel

International Herald Tribune (29 October 1991)
Kontext: It is not true that people of high principles are ill-suited for politics. High principles have only to be accompanied by patience, consideration, a sense of measure and understanding for others. It is not true that only coldhearted, cynical, arrogant, haughty or brawling persons succeed in politics. Such people are naturally attracted by politics. In the end, however, politeness and good manners weigh more.

„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

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.
Kontext: 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.

„The recent period — and in particular the last six weeks of our peaceful revolution — has shown the enormous human, moral and spiritual potential, and the civic culture that slumbered in our society under the enforced mask of apathy.“

—  Václav Havel

New Year's Address to the Nation (1990)
Kontext: The recent period — and in particular the last six weeks of our peaceful revolution — has shown the enormous human, moral and spiritual potential, and the civic culture that slumbered in our society under the enforced mask of apathy. Whenever someone categorically claimed that we were this or that, I always objected that society is a very mysterious creature and that it is unwise to trust only the face it presents to you. I am happy that I was not mistaken. Everywhere in the world people wonder where those meek, humiliated, skeptical and seemingly cynical citizens of Czechoslovakia found the marvelous strength to shake the totalitarian yoke from their shoulders in several weeks, and in a decent and peaceful way.

„Because it is founded on the search for universal laws, it cannot deal with singularity, that is, with uniqueness. The universe is a unique event and a unique story, and so far we are the unique point of that story. But unique events and stories are the domain of poetry, not science.“

—  Václav Havel

The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World (1994)
Kontext: Until recently, it might have seemed that we were an unhappy bit of mildew on a heavenly body whirling in space among many that have no mildew on them at all. this was something that classical science could explain. Yet, the moment it begins to appear that we are deeply connected to the entire universe, science reaches the outer limits of its powers. Because it is founded on the search for universal laws, it cannot deal with singularity, that is, with uniqueness. The universe is a unique event and a unique story, and so far we are the unique point of that story. But unique events and stories are the domain of poetry, not science. With the formulation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, science has found itself on the border between formula and story, between science and myth. In that, however, science has paradoxically returned, in a roundabout way, to man, and offers him — in new clothing — his lost integrity. It does so by anchoring him once more in the cosmos.

„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)
Kontext: 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.

„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.“

—  Václav Havel, buch The Power of the Powerless

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

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

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