tant crossroads of their history, and we have a greater chance than ever before in recent times to understand our situation and the ambivalence of the direction we are headed in, and to decide for the way of reason, peace, and justice, and not for the way that leads to our own destruction.

I am saying only this: to set out on the path of reason, peace, and justice means a lot of hard work, self-denial, patience, knowledge, a calm overview, a willingness to risk misunderstanding, At the same time, it means that everyone ought to be able to judge his or her own capacity and act accordingly, expecting either that one's capacity will grow with the new tasks one sets oneself, or that one's strength will run out. In other words, it is no longer possible to rely on fairy tales and fairy-tale heroes. It is no longer possible to rely on the accidents of history that lift poets into places where empires and military pacts are brought down. Their warning voices must be carefully listened to and taken very seriously, perhaps even more seriously than the voices of bankers or stock brokers. But at the same time, you cannot expect that the world -- in the hands of poets -- will suddenly be transformed into a poem. Nice line! Havel then lays out his three "old certainties" about the world. Let's look at number two:

2) 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. If the immensely smart and expensive modern weaponry must be used, let it be used in such a way that does not harm civilian populations. If this is not possible, then the billions spent on those weapons will be wnot expect that the world -- in the hands of poets -- will suddenly be transformed into a poem.
Nice line! Havel then lays out his three "old certainties" about the world. Let's look at number two:
2) 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. If the immensely smart and expensive modern weaponry must be used, let it be used in such a way that does not harm civilian populations. If this is not possible, then the billions spent on those weapons will be wasted.

Posted by at September 20, 2002 02:51 PM
Comments

Hi Matt,

great stuff on Havel... I'm afraid I don't have much to add on the philosophical front. Havel is a fascinating man, and this deep-self doubt is quite refreshing compared to the boundless megalomania, hubris and egocentrism of some other politicians. Havel is going right to the brink in these comments, to the point where he becomes paralyzed, but retreats just in time to remain effective. Fascinating.

Posted by: Petr Kocourek at September 21, 2002 02:49 PM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






= true; } else { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body> ent.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body>