Vaclav Havel's Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Vaclav Havel's Quotes

#1. The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We feel morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#2. I think theatre should always be somewhat suspect. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#3. I am convinced that we will never build a democratic state based on rule of law if we do not at the same time build a state that is-regardless of how unscientific this may sound to the ears of a political scientist-humane, moral, intellectual and spiritual, and cultural. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#4. It was never the people who complained of the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition. It was often their leaders who did so. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#5. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#6. Our social and economic statistics are telling us what we already know in our hearts: we have created a world that works for only a few. To change this, we must learn to act toward each other and our environment in profoundly different ways. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#7. A genuinely fundamental and hopeful improvement in "systems" cannot happen without a significant shift in human consciousness. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#8. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#9. Courage means going against majority opinion in the name of the truth. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#10. Our country, if that is what we want, can now permanently radiate love, understanding, the power of the spirit and of ideas. It is precisely this glow that we can offer as our specific contribution to international politics. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#11. The world is not divided into two types of being, one superior and the other merely surrounding it. Being, nature, the universe - they are all one infinitely complex and mysterious metaorganism of which we are but a part, though a unique one. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#12. I think he [Vaclav Havel] felt that he could speak more truth, in a way, through writing plays. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#13. The previous regime ... reduced man to a means of production and nature to a tool of production. Thus it attacked both their very essence and their mutual relationship. It reduced gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts in some monstrously huge, noisy, and stinking machine. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#14. Technological measures are important, but equally important is ... a consciousness of the commonality of all living beings and an emphasis on shared responsibility. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#15. Those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything are only looking for excuses. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#16. Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have - by disrupting that order - a way of surprising. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#17. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#18. If one were required to increase the dramatic seriousness of his face in relation to the seriousness of the problems he had to confront, he would quickly petrify and become his own statue. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#19. I think he [Vaclav Havel] is one of the great figures of the 20th century. He is one of the people that was able to be a part of overthrowing a dictatorial system by talking to people and understanding what the elements of democracy really are and respect for each other and elevating. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#20. Our concern is whether we can live with dignity in such a system, whether it serves people rather than people serving it. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#21. What's certain is that a totalitarian enclave like Cuba's can't continue to exist, so change will definitely come there, eventually. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#22. We live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#23. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#24. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#25. Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren't in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#26. If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#27. Without the constantly living and articulated eperience of absurdity, there would be no reason to attempt to do something meaningful. And on the contrary, how can one experience one's own absurdity if one is not constantly seeking meaning? - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#28. There's always something suspect about an intellectual on the winning side. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#29. It's not hard to stand behind one's successes. But to accept responsibility for one's failures ... that is devishly hard! - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#30. Vaclav Havel had moral stature. The president in first Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic in many ways is a ceremonial role. And so, speaking out and having that strong moral fiber, people just knew that he told the truth to people who had only heard lies. And so I think his - that's his legacy. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#31. To serve grand ideas with a major work is not bad, nor is it all there's to art. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#32. This is the moment when something once more begins visibly to happen, something truly new and unique ... something truly historical, in the sense that history again demands to be heard. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#33. It lies in human nature that where you experience your first laughs, you also remember the age kindly. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#34. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#35. He [Vaclav Havel] did love music. And so much about the Czech revolution was about music. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#36. The hope of the world lies in the rehabilitation of the living human being, not just the body but also the soul. - Author: Vaclav Havel
Vaclav Havel's Quotes #1145582
#37. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#38. Education is the ability to perceive the hidden connections between phenomena. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#39. Though my heart may be left of centre, I have always known that the only economic system that works is a market economy ... This is the only natural economy, the only kind that makes sense, the only one that can lead to prosperity, because it is the only one that reflects the nature of life itself. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#40. 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 absurdity. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#41. Sober perseverance is more effective than enthusiastic emotions, which are all too capable of being transferred, with little difficulty, to something different each day. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#42. If I have accomplished anything good, then it's mainly because I've been driven by the need to know whether I can accomplish things I'm not sure I have the capacity for. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#43. There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#44. Vaclav Havel is the figure that represents the Velvet Revolution and the reunification of Europe. He will be sorely missed. - Author: Jerzy Buzek
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#45. Human rights are universal and indivisible. Human freedom is also indivisible: if it is denied to anyone in the world, it is therefore denied, indirectly, to all people. This is why we cannot remain silent in the face of evil or violence; silence merely encourages them. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#46. Frank Zappa was one of the gods of the Czech underground, I thought of him as a friend. Whenever I feel like escaping from the world of the Presidency, I think of him. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#47. Lying can never save us from another lie. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#48. Ownership is not a vice, not something to be ashamed of, but rather a commitment, and an instrument by which the general good can be served. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#49. The tragic element in modern man, not ignore the meaning of his life, but it bothers him less and less. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#50. I have read somewhere that in a totalitarian system martyrdom does better than thought. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#51. English is the 'language of liberty' for nations emerging from years of cultural oppression. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#52. Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#53. I would count myself as a friend of Vaclav Havel. - Author: Tom Stoppard
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#54. Self-confidence is not pride. Just the contrary: only a person or a nation that is self-confident, in the best sense of the word, is capable of listening to others, accepting them as equals, forgiving its enemies and regretting its own guilt. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#55. As in everything else, I must start with myself. That is: in all circumstances try to be decent, just, tolerant, and understanding, and at the same time try to resist corruption and deception. In other words, I must do my utmost to act in harmony with my conscience and my better self. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#56. If the world is to change for the better it must start with a change in human consciousness, in the very humanness of modern man. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#57. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#58. I have said it so often: if the West does not stabilize the East, the East will destabilize the West. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#59. I am in favor of [actions] that have authenticity, roots, originality, verve, balance, taste, communicativeness, challenge, relevance to their time-in short, things that make sense. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#60. But if I were to say who influenced me most, then I'd say Franz Kafka. And his works were always anchored in the Central European region. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#61. When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#62. There can be no doubt that distrust of words is less harmful than unwarranted trust in them. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#63. I have preserved my identity, put its credibility to the test and defended my dignity. What good this will bring the world I don't know. But for me it is good. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#64. Hope is not a feeling. It is not the belief that things will turn out well, but the conviction that what you are doing makes sense, no matter how things turn out. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#65. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#66. The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning - in other words, of absurdity - the more energetically meaning is sought. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#67. Time and time again I have been persuaded that a huge potential of goodwill is slumbering within our society. It's just that it's incoherent, suppressed, confused, crippled and perplexed. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#68. Theater is there to search for questions. It doesn't give you instructions. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#69. I feel that the dormant goodwill in people needs to be stirred. People need to hear that it makes sense to behave decently or to help others, to place common interests above their own, to respect the elementary rules of human coexistence. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#70. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
Vaclav Havel's Quotes #156233
#71. Responsibility is something higher than my family, my country, my firm, my success. Responsibility to the order of Being, where, and only where, they will be properly judged. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#72. If a single writer in a country is in chains, then there are some links of that chain that binds us all. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#73. It is not enough to invent new machines, new regulations, or new institutions. We must understand differently and more perfectly the true purpose of our existence on this earth. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#74. True enough, the country is calm. Calm as a morgue or a grave, would you not say? - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#75. Ultimately, power only really listens to power, and if government is to be improved, we must be able to threaten its existence, not merely its reputation. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#76. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs. - Vaclav Havel - Author: J.J. McAvoy
Vaclav Havel's Quotes #520431
#77. The point I am trying to make is that words are a mysterious, ambiguous, ambivalent, and perfidious phenomenon. They can be rays of light in a realm of darkness ... They can equally be lethal arrows. Worst of all, at times they can be one or the other. They can even be both at once! - Author: Vaclav Havel
Vaclav Havel's Quotes #630991
#78. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#79. The Declaration of Independence states the the Creator gave man the right to liberty. It seems man can realize that liberty only if he does not forget the One who endowed him with it. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#80. Vaclav Havel didn't want to ride around in big black cars. And he had his own car with a little red heart on it. And he loved to go out and talk to the people. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#81. Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can't be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#82. In my opinion, theater shouldn't give advice to citizens. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#83. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#84. You can't spend your whole life criticizing something and then, when you have the chance to do it better, refuse to go near it. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#85. I think it's important for one to take a certain distance from oneself. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#86. I think that, from Vaclav Havel own experience, he knew if we all paid attention to what was going on, the chances were that even the most horrible dictators wouldn't execute people. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#87. Our indifference towards others can after all result in only one thing: the indifference of others towards us.
Vaclav Havel, quoted in Havel: A Life - Author: Michael Zantovsky
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#88. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#89. I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#90. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#91. There is only one thing I will not concede: that it might be meaningless to strive in a good cause. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#92. In any case, ideals are something we strive for; they are somewhere on the horizon of our efforts; they provide meaning and direction; they are not, however, static quotas that we either fulfill or do not. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#93. Man is not an omipotent master of the universe, allowed to do with impunity whatever he thinks, or whatever suits him at the moment. The world we live in is made of an immensely complex and mysterious tissue about which we know very little and which we must treat with utmost humility. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#94. The system was afraid of Vaclav Havel. And so they either harassed him for put him in jail. - Author: Judy Woodruff
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#95. It seems to me that one of the most basic human experiences, one that is genuinely universal and unites-or, more precisely, could unite-all of humanity, is the experience of transcendence in the broadest sense of the word. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#96. 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. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#97. Truth must be integrated with love; morality is not whole without it. Love is the greatest strength of the powerless. Unity founded on love will never be coercion; power guided by love will never be violence. Love is all-powerful and will even overcome hatred. And only love can do this! - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#98. If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become President. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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#99. Years ago - I used to be an actor - I was in a production of Vaclav Havel's 'Temptation,' and when we started rehearsals, he was in prison. When we closed the show, he was running for president. And it felt incredibly timely and important and also this lucky thing. - Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Vaclav Havel's Quotes #390980
#100. I have found that good taste, oddly enough, plays an important role in politics. Why is it like that? The most probable reason is that good taste is a visible manifestation of human sensibility toward the world, environment, people. - Author: Vaclav Havel
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