What are the best Vaclav Havel quotes?

Accurate and famous quotes by Vaclav Havel about hope, absurdity, theater, books, tyranny. Vaclav Havel is well-known Czechoslovakian leader with many wise quotes. You can read the best of all time and enjoy Top 10 lists. Share the best Vaclav Havel sayings with your friends and family.


  1. Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren't in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life.


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


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


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




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


  6. There's always something suspect about an intellectual on the winning side.


  7. I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.


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


  9. 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.


  10. I think theatre should always be somewhat suspect.

    • theater

  11. Lying can never save us from another lie.


  12. 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.


  13. 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.


  14. If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become President.


  15. The attempt to devote oneself to literature alone is a most deceptive thing, and often, paradoxically, it is literature that suffers for it.

    • books

  16. 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.


  17. 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.


  18. Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations. Without internal peace, that is, peace among citizens and between the citizens and the state, there can be no guarantee of external peace.


  19. People who live in the post-totalitarian system know only too well that the question of whether one or several political parties are in power, and how these parties define and label themselves, is of far less importance than the question of whether or not it is possible to live like a human being.


  20. 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.


  21. The only salvation of the world today... is the rapid dissemination of the basic values of the West, that is, the ideas of democracy, human rights, the civil society, and the free market.


  22. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to prosecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

    • tyranny

  23. Human beings are compelled to live within a lie, but they can be compelled to do so only because they are in fact capable of living in this way. Therefore not only does the system alienate humanity, but at the same time alienated humanity supports this system as its own involuntary master plan, as a degenerate image of its own degeneration, as a record of people's own failure as individuals.


  24. Twenty or thirty years ago, in the army, we had a lot of obscure adventures, and years later we tell them at parties, and suddenly we realize that those two very difficult years of our lives have become lumped together into a few episodes that have lodged in our memory in a standardized form, and are always told in a standardized way, in the same words. But in fact that lump of memories has nothing whatsoever to do with our experience of those two years in the army and what it has made of us.


  25. Hope is definitely 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.


  26. 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.


  27. 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.


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


  29. 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.

    • absurdity

  30. 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. Only such a new understanding will allow us to develop new models of behavior, new scales of values and goals, and thereby invest the global regulations, treaties and institutions with a new spirit and meaning.


  31. 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?


  32. Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.


  33. None of us know all the potentialities that slumber in the spirit of the population, or all the ways in which that population can surprise us when there is the right interplay of events.


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


  35. 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.


  36. 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.


  37. A state that denies its citizens their basic rights becomes a danger to its neighbors as well: internal arbitrary rule will be reflected in arbitrary external relations. The suppression of public opinion, the abolition of public competition for power and its public exercise opens the way for the state power to arm itself in any way it sees fit. A state that does not hesitate to lie to its own people will not hesitate to lie to other states.


  38. 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.


  39. This is a confusing and uncertain period, when a thousand wise words can go completely unnoticed, and one thoughtless word can provoke an utterly nonsensical furor.


  40. The truth is not simply what you think it is; it is also the circumstances in which it is said, and to whom, why, and how it is said.


  41. If every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he unhesitatingly gives answers to questionnaires which are contrary to his real opinions and is prepared to deny his own self in public, if he sees no difficulty in feigning sympathy or even affection where, in fact, he feels only indifference or aversion, it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation.


  42. 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.


  43. Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.

    • hope

  44. 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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About Vaclav Havel

Where is Vaclav Havel from? Vaclav Havel is Czechoslovakian who said awesome wise words. Well-known and respected in Czechoslovakian society for wise sayings. The following quotations and images represent the Czechoslovakian nature embed in Vaclav Havel's character.

What Vaclav Havel was famous for? Vaclav Havel is famous leader with many good quotes. Influential and well recognized leader all over the world. Browse a lot of Vaclav Havel books and reference books with quotes from Vaclav Havel on Amazon.

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Vaclav Havel is famous for his passion about hope, absurdity, theater, books, tyranny. Check out great quotations and affirmations on these topics.


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When was Vaclav Havel birthday? Vaclav Havel was born on 5 October 1936.

Who is Vaclav Havel? Some facts about Vaclav Havel from biography. Václav Havel (5 October 1936 – 18 December 2011) was a Czech writer, philosopher, dissident, and statesman. From 1989 to 1992, he served as the last president of Czechoslovakia. He then served as the first president of the Czech Republic (1993–2003) after the Czech–Slovak split. Within Czech ... Read more about Vaclav Havel on Wikipedia or watch videos with quotes from Vaclav Havel on YouTube. Browse a lot of books about Vaclav Havel on Amazon to get more reference.

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