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Power of the Powerless

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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  332 ratings  ·  24 reviews

Books of great political insight and novelty always outlive their time of birth and this reissued work, initially published in 1985, is no exception. Written shortly after the formation of Charter 7, the essays in this collection are among the most original and compelling pieces of political writing to have emerged from central and Eastern Europe during the whole of the po

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Paperback, 228 pages
Published May 30th 1990 by M.E. Sharpe (first published 1978)
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Rianor
Absolutely brilliant and precise analysis of the post-totalitarian system. It is amazing how much of these thoughts are universal and could be applied even now. The immense power of humble living in truth could not be explained better.
Furthermore, last three chapters are pretty much ahead of its own time, and ahead of today's time, as is true with lot of good 20th century philosophy.
Megan
Oct 19, 2011 Megan marked it as to-read
A friend recently mentioned that there's a large photo of Havel at a local blues club, posing with the owner, and I said, "Hovel who?" So, that's full disclosure.

And then I read this recently (written by Michael Pollan OF. COURSE.) in The New York Times Magazine:

"Sometimes you have to act as if acting will make a difference, even when you can’t prove that it will. That, after all, was precisely what happened in Communist Czechoslovakia and Poland, when a handful of individuals like Vaclav Havel
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Linda
Havel's essay lays the groundwork to inspire all of us to facilitate change in the world by living in the truth instead of accepting the lies of authority. This was so revealing to me that it changed my world view significantly. I couldn't recommend this book more highly.
Audrey
I am constitutionally incapable of giving any Havel-related materials less than a full five-star rating.
Bradley
Great essay. It reminds me of Aung San Suu Kyi's "It's not power that corrupts, but fear."
Luboš
---- citace ----
Udělal to proto, že to patří k věci, chce-li člověk v životě obstát; že je to jedna z tisíce „maličkostí“, které mu zajišťují relativně klidný život „v souladu se společností“.

já, zelinář XY, jsem zde a vím, co mám dělat; chovám se tak, jak je ode mne očekáváno; je na mne spolehnutí a nelze mi nic vytknout; jsem poslušný, a mám proto právo na klidný život.

(disidenti) jsou „obyčejnými lidmi“, žijícími „obyčejnými“ starostmi a lišícími se od ostatních jen tím, že říkají nahlas to,
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Bobiczdoh
Начиная с понятия "посттоталитарного общества", в котором функции тоталитарного управления выполняются каждым отдельным человеком внутри себя, Вацлав Гавел рассказывает о роли в оном обществе диссидентов и "параллельных структур", приходя в итоге к пониманию необходимости "экзистенциальной революции", протекающей в каждом человеке и приводящей к зарождению постдемократического общества, построенного на общечеловеческой морали, а не на культе потребления и размазывания ответственности.
Книгу отлич
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Josh
I started reading this book expecting it to be a sort of primer on underground cultural resistance to an oppressive regime. What it actually turned out to be was part manifesto, part history less about the Czechoslovakian and Polish resistance movements. I found it very interesting to read the words of history and what philosophizing there was I found to be inspiring, but I would say unless you are deeply interested in the specifics of Czech history during the twilight of the Soviet Empire, ther ...more
Nolan Gray
All great essays, Havel's contribution alone is worth the read. Wonderful stuff. Must read for students of Central/Eastern European political theory.
Martin
Poprvé publikováno 1978, v mnohém mrazivě a naléhavě aktuální i dnes, kdy post-totalitní systém nahradila pseudo-demokracie několika ideově vyprázdněných a byznysem řízených politických stran. Zároveň odhalující tragiku Havlova politického působení, kdy (možná proti své vůli?) hrál hlavní roli ve hře, před kterou ve svém zásadním eseji varuje, tj. před pouhým převzetím formálních demokratických prvků bez komplexní proměny myšlení a způsobu života.
Michaela
"V každém člověku je samozřejmě přítomen život ve svých bytostných intencích: v každém je kus
touhy po vlastní lidské důstojnosti, mravní integritě, svobodné zkušenosti bytí, transcendenci „světa
jsoucen“; každý ale zároveň ve větší či menší míře je schopen smířit se s „životem ve lži“, každý se
nějak propadá do profánního zvěcnění a účelovosti, v každém je kousek ochoty rozpustit se v
anonymním davu a pohodlně s ním téct řečištěm pseudoživota."
Ondřej Trhoň
První (tematicky) část o životě v totalitě, vztahu moci a člověka, popis post-totalitního státu a původ/vznik/život disentu, potud všechno ok, v pořádku a zajímavé. Pak ale přijde na něco, co moc obecně nemusím - obklopující moralizování a hodnocení celé společnosti, nejasná vize post-demokratického systému a povšechná kritika konzumu, která hodnotí šmahem všechny lidi. Proto jen 3 hvězdy.
M
Just read Havel's titular article. Rather different and unexpected interpretation of "ideology" (here, it's the way in which a person relates to the world), and quite an interesting one. Basically, ideology explains how people tolerate dictatorships, particularly in Eastern Europe, and how they become part of the system.
Alena Bílková
perfectly description of a reality in a communist country and invcible definiton of a (post)totalitarism
Deborah
Great book including the Charter 77 Declaration as an Appendix and brief bio's about the Czechoslovak contributors. Compelling essays on morality and politics, and the responsibility we have in the public sphere.
Martha Ponce
No recuerdo mucho de este libro, Señal de que no le entendí mucho...lo leí porque una de mis grades favoritas ( La Esperanza no es lo mismo Que el optimismo...) es de este señor.
Enerel
Apr 17, 2014 Enerel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I read a short excerpt from Vaclav Havel's power of the powerless. It will give you a deep insight into the life under the communism. His metaphor is powerful. (1978)
Emily
Effective style of argumentation. Very perceptive.
Leilani
what guts! this dude was already talking about how our culture is our resistance before the throes of globalization and imperialism took full force.
Annika
Started reading this today out of curiosity. I found it incredibly inspiring and really interesting.
Pan_filuta
Dlouhé, tam 3-5 super pasáží pro konkrétního čtenáře, jinak spíše náročné čtení.
Hussam  yusuf
كتاب سياسي اجتماعي لم استوعب منه الكثير
Jenni Kotting
One of the most inspiring books I've ever read.
olivia
Awesomo, awesomo, awesomo.
Parvin
Parvin added it
Jun 01, 2015
GAP
GAP marked it as to-read
May 29, 2015
Monika
Monika added it
May 29, 2015
Mohamed Adam
Mohamed Adam marked it as to-read
May 27, 2015
Amr Saleh
Amr Saleh marked it as to-read
May 26, 2015
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May 26, 2015
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Václav Havel was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He wrote over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally. He received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the free ...more
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“In everyone there is some willingness to merge with the anonymous crowd and to flow comfortably along with it down the river of pseudo-life. This is much more than a simple conflict between two identities. It is something far worse: it is a challenge to the very notion of identity itself.” 8 likes
“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.” 8 likes
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