Václav Havel

Václav Havel: From the Prague Spring to the Velvet Revolution to the Year of the Protestor

We’re an empire now. And when we act, we create our own reality. –Senior Bush Advisor to Ron Suskind

 

It can be said, therefore, that ideology, as that instrument of internal communication which assures the power structure of inner cohesion is, in the post-totalitarian system, something that transcends the physical aspects of power, something that dominates it to a considerable degree, and therefore, tends to assure its continuity as well. It is one of the pillars of the system’s external stability. This pillar, however, is built on a very unstable foundation. It is built on lies. It works only as long as people are willing to live within the lie. –Václav Havel, “Power of the Powerless

In his essay, Power of the Powerless, Václav Havel described how citizens of “post-totalitarian” societies perform certain rituals–his central example was a green grocer putting the sign, “Workers of the World, Unite!” in his shop window every morning, but he saw the “dictatorship of consumption” to work similarly–to signify their adherence to the ideology on which power in the system rests. The system relies on (and rewards, with access to a comfortable livelihood) the universal performance of such rituals to sustain the ideology that gives the raw power behind the system some legitimacy. He argued that if people began to live within the truth–stopped putting up the sign every morning and paid the consequences in terms of lost benefits–it might expose the lie behind the myths people told themselves about their society.

But the moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, “the emperor is naked!”–when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game–everything suddenly appears in another light and the whole crust seems then to be made of a tissue on the point of tearing and disintegrating uncontrollably.

Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV Every New York restaurant for the next ten years will be running a daily special of shark fin soup. #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
16mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Finn does a Slim Pickens! #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
20mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Peasants with pitchforks in the streets of New York! Love it! #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
22mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @ThunderLevin: He found a chainsaw! All is well! #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
34mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Just realized #Sharknado2TheSecondOne wasn't timely enough for Judd Hirsch to drive for Uber.
35mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV C'mon, Al, call it the mother of all sharknados. #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
37mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @jeremyscahill: Oh shit. John Brennan just accidentally SnapChatted me his secret notes on why John Brennan is awesome.
42mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Martha Stewart: "Know what could kill these sharks? Drones!" #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
43mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Let' make a big bomb! #Sharknado2TheSecondOne
47mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @ThunderLevin: Yeah... We jumped the shark. #Sharknado2TheSecondOne #sharknado2
1hreplyretweetfavorite
July 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031