Quotes Categories

Vaclav Havel Quotes

(1936), Czech Playwright, President

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

Category: Meaning Of Life

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

Category: Oppression

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.

Category: Power

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

Category: President

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.

Category: Protest

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.

Category: Reason

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.

Category: Salvation

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

Category: Sense Of Humor

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.

Category: Submission

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

Category: Suicide

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

Category: Theater

I think theatre should always be somewhat suspect.

Category: Theater

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.

Category: Totalitarianism

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.

Category: Truth

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?

Category: Words