Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vaclav Havel, 1936 - 2011

Vaclav Havel was pretty cool. He was Keith Richards' favorite politician, that's a pretty good recommendation. Vastly quotable too. The following examples I borrowed from Gawker.

On the hidden mysteries of life:

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

On the advantages of the underdog:

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

On loosening up:

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

On the audacious semantics of hope:

"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."

On the perks of power:

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

On the Jesus Connection:

"Man is in fact nailed down - like Christ on the Cross - to a grid of paradoxes . . . he balances between the torment of not knowing his mission and the joy of carrying it out, between nothingness and meaningfulness. And like Christ, he is in fact victorious by virtue of his defeats."

On the true nature of Art:

"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."

That's good stuff. Adios, Vaclav, thanks for everything.

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