Monday, December 19, 2011

Vaclav Havel RIP

The communist dissident and later first post-communist President of Czechoslavakia Vaclav Havel died on the 18th.  The following passage is from his letter to the then communist leader of his country Gustav Husak:

"Just as the constant increase of entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to be ever more highly structured and to struggle against entropy.

Life rebels against all uniformity and leveling; its aim is not sameness but variety, the restlessness of transcendence, the adventure of novelty and rebellion against the status quo.  An essential condition for its enhancement is the secret constantly made mainifest.

On the other hand, the essence of authority (whose aim is reduced to protecting its own permanence by forcibly imposing the uniformity of perpetual consent) consists basically in a distrust of all variety, uniqueness, and transcendence; in an aversion to everything unknown, impalpable, and currently obscure; in a proclivity for the uniform, the identical, and the inert; in deep affection for the status quo.  In it, the mechanical spirit prevails over the vital.  The order it strives for is no frank quest for higher forms of self-organization, equivalent to its evolving complexity of structure, but, on the contrary, a decline toward that ‘state of maximum probability’ representing the climax of entropy.  Following the direction of entropy, it goes against the direction of life."

Vaclav Havel, Open Letters, Dear Dr. Husak, 1975

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