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View Diary: Literature for Kossacks: Vaclav Havel (54 comments)

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  •  And so falls silent (18+ / 0-)

    ...one of the great voices for human dignity.  

    I'm sure he would have considered my reading to be somewhat sophmoric and overly western, but "Power of the Powerless" changed my view of politics forever.  It is not a small thing to live in truth.  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 03:14:18 PM PST

    •  Not at all sophomoric! (13+ / 0-)
      The original and most important sphere of activity, one that predetermines all the others, is simply an attempt to create and support the independent life of society as an articulated expression of living within the truth. In other words, serving truth consistently, purposefully, and articulately, and organizing this service. This is only natural, after all: if living within the truth is an elementary starting point for every attempt made by people to oppose the alienating pressure of the system, if it is the only meaningful basis of any independent act of political import, and if, ultimately, it is also the most intrinsic existential source of the "dissident" attitude, then it is difficult to imagine that even manifest "dissent" could have any other basis than the service of truth, the truthful life, and the attempt to make room for the genuine aims of life.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 03:21:46 PM PST

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      •  he snuck up so slowly... (12+ / 0-)

        ...and qualified for his country, the eastern block, for culture and specific humor...and then his knife went all the way through and past it, as far as a thought could reach:

        Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from ihemselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and iheir adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing hisjob behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying iu power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe.

        I think of this quote when I walk by someone playing Rush Limbaugh on the radio.  We know -- the right knows, we all know -- that the ideology is a lie.  And while we argue over this fact or worldview or framing or policy, we endlessly shy away from what Havel put so well: ideology is a lie which people agree on, and that agreement strips from them their best and highest selves.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 03:35:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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