Posts Tagged ‘Vaclav Havel’


The worst of it is that we live in a spoiled moral environment. We have become morally ill because we are used to saying one thing and thinking another. We have learned not to believe in anything, not to care about each other, to worry only about ourselves. The concepts of love, friendship, mercy, humility or forgiveness have lost their depths and dimension, and for many of us they represent only some sort of psychological curiosity or they appear as long-lost wanderers from faraway times, somewhat ludicrous in the era of computers and space ships. . . .

If I speak about a spoiled moral atmosphere I don’t refer only to our masters. . . I’m speaking about all of us. For all of us have grown used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an immutable fact, and thereby actually helped keep it going. None of us are only its victims; we are all also responsible for it.

Vaclav Havel, New Year’s Day Address, 1990


I came across the line, We have become morally ill because we are used to saying one thing and thinking another, in a tweet last night from former CIA Director John McLaughlin who said it ran through his mind several times yesterday as he watched the display of moral bankruptcy from the GOP senators taking place before our very eyes.

The onetime Czech playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel spoke those words in his New Year’s Day address to the Czech people after becoming the first democratically elected President of that nation in the post-communist era just weeks before. To that point, Havel had lived his entire life under an authoritarian regime. His plays were banned in his own land and he was imprisoned as a political prisoner multiple times, over four years during the longest incarceration, for attempting to bring light into a society where truth was what the regime claimed it to be. Many citizens were under almost constant surveillance and show trials were the norm.

Shows trials are those, particularly in Soviet nations of the Cold War Era, that have a predetermined outcome and don’t rely on witnesses or real evidence. As with truth, the evidence was what the regime claimed it to be. It was an expedient manner to remove political opponent with the appearance of justice taking place.

Sound familiar?

After reading Havel’s address and watching the events of the last few days, knowing already what the outcome will be as in any show trial, I could see real parallels in the moral illness that Havel described in his address and the behavior of our Republican senators. How can these people who speak one thing while thinking another believe that this will not corrupt our whole society, that which they have been entrusted to protect?

Their corruption will beget more corruption and that corruption more yet. Our Great Leader’s thousands upon thousands of lies will become accepted truths and his skewed amorality becomes the moral compass of our nation. Unless we reject these new norms, we will remain in this spiral that will soon bring us to a form of totalitarianism complete with more show trials and deeper surveillance for those who dare to stand against those in power.

We still have a chance to avoid this end. As Havel said: None of us are only its victims; we are all also responsible for it.

You can’t stand on the sidelines now. You can’t let others do the heavy lifting alone. Too many of us have done that for too long.

We are all responsible for it.


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GC Myers- Hope and CertaintyHope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Vaclav Havel

Above is a new painting, a 9″ by 12″ canvas, that I am calling Hope and Certainty.  From the moment it was complete I thought of the meaning of this piece in terms of a hopeful look forward.  It was not necessarily optimistic but was simply looking ahead to see a future, even one that was darker and more ominous than the desire contained in the hope.

And this hope was in the certainty that time would heal the open wounds that were with us in the present time.

And that made sense but still didn’t comfort me in the way such a piece or thought might have in the past.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on why this was, why I was still feeling unease and uncertain.

Then I came across the words above from Vaclav Havel, the late Czech president/writer/philosopher/dissident.  It explained this piece and it explained so well the anger of the people in this country and around the world who stand in opposition to [he-who-will-not-be-named-here].  His ascent and the way he has shown how he plans to rule thus far do not make sense, it challenges all that we know to be right and real.

His is a world of alternative facts.

And that takes away all possibility of sense. And with it goes certainty.

We live by rhythms and patterns that have been written into our DNA.  We know that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. That the dark of night will be replaced by the light of day. That the cold of winter will soon give way to the warmth of spring.  That fire is hot and ice is cold. And for the most part, we know that right is good and wrong is bad.

But in a world that challenges the reality of every word in every moment, where falsehoods and lies are expected and accepted, is there is no certainty and thus no sense.

Hope flounders without sense and certainty.  It becomes anger.

So what I am seeing in this painting is the Red Tree trying to find sense, trying to see a pattern or rhythm in the future that lays before it that has hope and certainty.

Now it makes makes sense and I can move into it more easily.

And that is a small victory.

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GC Myers- A Seat at the Table  smMan is a part of the world, and his spirit is part of the spirit of the world.  We are merely a peculiar mode of Being, a living atom within it, or, rather, a cell that, if sufficiently open to itself and its own mystery, can also experience the mystery, the will, the pain, and the hope of the world.

Vàclav Havel


The Red Chair normally represents memory for me.  Often it is the form of familial memory with the chair lifted by the branches of what seems to be its family tree.  But in this newer painting, an 18″ by 36″ canvas that I call A Seat at the Table I see it as being part of a larger family unit, as a piece of the entirety of the world and the universe.

Oh, it may only play a small part but it is a part nonetheless, a link in the chained mesh of all things.  It belongs.

It has a seat at the table.

And that’s an important thing to remember for each of us– that we do belong, that we play a part in serving to hold together this universe.  We are not universes unto ourselves however much it sometimes seem.  We best function in our parts when we seek to serve others and in some way strengthen our part of  this universal mesh.

So play your part and involve yourself in the world, in the universe.  You do have a seat at the table, after all.

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