President of Czechoslovakia, spoke to the...


March 04, 1992

VACLAV HAVEL, president of Czechoslovakia, spoke to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Feb. 4. His speech included some observations about the kind of politician the world needs as it enters a new, post-communist era:

"Soul, individual spirituality, first-hand personal insight into things; the courage to be oneself and go the way one's conscience points, humility in the face of the mysterious order of Being, confidence in its natural direction and, above all, trust in one's own subjectivity as the principal link with the subjectivity of the world -- these are the qualities that politicians of the future should cultivate.

"Looking at politics 'from the inside;' as it were, has if anything confirmed my belief that the world of today -- with the dramatic changes it is going through and in its determination not to destroy itself -- presents a great challenge to politicians.

"It is not that we should simply seek new and better ways of managing society, the economy and the world. The point is that we should fundamentally change how we behave. And who but politicians should lead the way? Their changed attitude toward the world, themselves and their responsibility can give rise to truly effective systemic and institutional changes."

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