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Václav Havel Quotes
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Václav Havel Quote: “There is only one thing I will not concede: that it might be meaningless to strive in a good cause.”

There is only one thing I will not concede: that it might be meaningless to strive in a good cause.

— Václav Havel



Václav Havel Quote: “The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning – in other words, of absurdity – the more energetically meaning is sought.”

The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning – in other words, of absurdity – the more energetically meaning is sought.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.”

Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Our social and economic statistics are telling us what we already know in our hearts: we have created a world that works for only a few. To change this, we must learn to act toward each other and our environment in profoundly different ways.”

Our social and economic statistics are telling us what we already know in our hearts: we have created a world that works for only a few. To change this, we must learn to act toward each other and our environment in profoundly different ways.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He’s not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he’s really needed.”

If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He’s not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he’s really needed.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “In any case, ideals are something we strive for; they are somewhere on the horizon of our efforts; they provide meaning and direction; they are not, however, static quotas that we either fulfill or do not.”

In any case, ideals are something we strive for; they are somewhere on the horizon of our efforts; they provide meaning and direction; they are not, however, static quotas that we either fulfill or do not.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “It is not enough to invent new machines, new regulations, or new institutions. We must understand differently and more perfectly the true purpose of our existence on this earth.”

It is not enough to invent new machines, new regulations, or new institutions. We must understand differently and more perfectly the true purpose of our existence on this earth.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “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.”

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.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “The role of the writer is not simply to arrange Being according to his own lights; he must also serve as a medium to Being and remain open to its often unfathomable dictates. This is the only way the work can transcend its creator and radiate its meaning.”

The role of the writer is not simply to arrange Being according to his own lights; he must also serve as a medium to Being and remain open to its often unfathomable dictates. This is the only way the work can transcend its creator and radiate its meaning.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “True enough, the country is calm. Calm as a morgue or a grave, would you not say?”

True enough, the country is calm. Calm as a morgue or a grave, would you not say?

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself but when he plays the role destiny has for him.”

The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself but when he plays the role destiny has for him.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both.”

The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can’t be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force.”

Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can’t be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Modern science kills God and takes his place on the vacant throne. Science is the sole legitimate arbiter of all relavent truth.”

Modern science kills God and takes his place on the vacant throne. Science is the sole legitimate arbiter of all relavent truth.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “People have passed through a very dark tunnel at the end of which there was a light of freedom. Unexpectedly they passed through the prison gates and found themselves in a square. They are now free and they don’t know where to go.”

People have passed through a very dark tunnel at the end of which there was a light of freedom. Unexpectedly they passed through the prison gates and found themselves in a square. They are now free and they don’t know where to go.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “The world is not divided into two types of being, one superior and the other merely surrounding it. Being, nature, the universe – they are all one infinitely complex and mysterious metaorganism of which we are but a part, though a unique one.”

The world is not divided into two types of being, one superior and the other merely surrounding it. Being, nature, the universe – they are all one infinitely complex and mysterious metaorganism of which we are but a part, though a unique one.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity have their deepest roots somewhere outside the perceptible world. These values are as powerful as they are because, under certain circumstances, people accept them without compulsion and are willing to die for them.”

Human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity have their deepest roots somewhere outside the perceptible world. These values are as powerful as they are because, under certain circumstances, people accept them without compulsion and are willing to die for them.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “If I have accomplished anything good, then it’s mainly because I’ve been driven by the need to know whether I can accomplish things I’m not sure I have the capacity for.”

If I have accomplished anything good, then it’s mainly because I’ve been driven by the need to know whether I can accomplish things I’m not sure I have the capacity for.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “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.”

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.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have – by disrupting that order – a way of surprising.”

Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have – by disrupting that order – a way of surprising.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “As in everything else, I must start with myself. That is: in all circumstances try to be decent, just, tolerant, and understanding, and at the same time try to resist corruption and deception. In other words, I must do my utmost to act in harmony with my conscience and my better self.”

As in everything else, I must start with myself. That is: in all circumstances try to be decent, just, tolerant, and understanding, and at the same time try to resist corruption and deception. In other words, I must do my utmost to act in harmony with my conscience and my better self.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “The award is destined for scientists who do not fear to touch on some of the darkest aspects of being without betraying what they have achieved. On the contrary, they head in this direction.”

The award is destined for scientists who do not fear to touch on some of the darkest aspects of being without betraying what they have achieved. On the contrary, they head in this direction.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.”

As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought.”

We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “The salvation of the world lies in the human heart.”

The salvation of the world lies in the human heart.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “I feel that the dormant goodwill in people needs to be stirred. People need to hear that it makes sense to behave decently or to help others, to place common interests above their own, to respect the elementary rules of human coexistence.”

I feel that the dormant goodwill in people needs to be stirred. People need to hear that it makes sense to behave decently or to help others, to place common interests above their own, to respect the elementary rules of human coexistence.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “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.”

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.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Nothing is more powerful than individuals acting out of their own conscience.”

Nothing is more powerful than individuals acting out of their own conscience.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Ultimately, power only really listens to power, and if government is to be improved, we must be able to threaten its existence, not merely its reputation.”

Ultimately, power only really listens to power, and if government is to be improved, we must be able to threaten its existence, not merely its reputation.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “By perceiving ourselves as part of the river, we take responsibility for the river as a whole.”

By perceiving ourselves as part of the river, we take responsibility for the river as a whole.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “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. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension.”

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. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “If a single writer in a country is in chains, then there are some links of that chain that binds us all.”

If a single writer in a country is in chains, then there are some links of that chain that binds us all.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me.”

I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “A genuinely fundamental and hopeful improvement in “systems” cannot happen without a significant shift in human consciousness.”

A genuinely fundamental and hopeful improvement in “systems” cannot happen without a significant shift in human consciousness.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “A human action becomes genuinely important when it springs from the soil of a clear-sighted awareness of the temporality and the ephemerally of everything human. It is only this awareness that can breathe any greatness into an action.”

A human action becomes genuinely important when it springs from the soil of a clear-sighted awareness of the temporality and the ephemerally of everything human. It is only this awareness that can breathe any greatness into an action.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.”

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

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “I have found that good taste, oddly enough, plays an important role in politics. Why is it like that? The most probable reason is that good taste is a visible manifestation of human sensibility toward the world, environment, people.”

I have found that good taste, oddly enough, plays an important role in politics. Why is it like that? The most probable reason is that good taste is a visible manifestation of human sensibility toward the world, environment, people.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Communism was overthrown by life, by thought, by dignity.”

Communism was overthrown by life, by thought, by dignity.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “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.”

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


Václav Havel Quote: “Frank Zappa was one of the gods of the Czech underground, I thought of him as a friend. Whenever I feel like escaping from the world of the Presidency, I think of him.”

Frank Zappa was one of the gods of the Czech underground, I thought of him as a friend. Whenever I feel like escaping from the world of the Presidency, I think of him.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “I think its important for one to take a certain distance from oneself.”

I think its important for one to take a certain distance from oneself.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “To serve grand ideas with a major work is not bad, nor is it all there’s to art.”

To serve grand ideas with a major work is not bad, nor is it all there’s to art.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “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.”

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.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “In my opinion, theater shouldn’t give advice to citizens.”

In my opinion, theater shouldn’t give advice to citizens.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “It was never the people who complained of the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition. It was often their leaders who did so.”

It was never the people who complained of the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition. It was often their leaders who did so.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Truth is not merely what we are thinking, but also why, to whom and under what circumstances we say it.”

Truth is not merely what we are thinking, but also why, to whom and under what circumstances we say it.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “If by believing you mean praying to an anthropomorphic deity who created the world and half controls it and half observes it, then I am probably not a believer. But if you mean that it is not all accidental, that there is a mystery to existence, a deeper meaning, that I do believe in.”

If by believing you mean praying to an anthropomorphic deity who created the world and half controls it and half observes it, then I am probably not a believer. But if you mean that it is not all accidental, that there is a mystery to existence, a deeper meaning, that I do believe in.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “People, your Government has returned to you!”

People, your Government has returned to you!

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “Every consession gives rise to further concessions, we cannot back down, because behind us there is only an abyss, we must keep our promises and demand that they be kept.”

Every consession gives rise to further concessions, we cannot back down, because behind us there is only an abyss, we must keep our promises and demand that they be kept.

— Václav Havel


Václav Havel Quote: “I have read somewhere that in a totalitarian system martyrdom does better than thought.”

I have read somewhere that in a totalitarian system martyrdom does better than thought.

— Václav Havel

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