HOPELESS… the ever-growing threats of the New World Order make people feel hopeless and helpless. Resistance seems to be futile: “What can I do? The El-ite psychopaths will always get their way. Why should I care?”
“Despair leads to apathy, apathy to conformity, conformity to routine performance – which is then quoted as evidence of ‘mass political involvement’. All this goes to make up the contemporary concept of ‘normal’ behaviour – a concept which is, in essence, deeply pessimistic.” [pg. 11]
[All page references are to the Faber & Faber paperback (1989) English translation of Václav Havel – Living in Truth, edited by Jan Vladislav; 1986.]
In this article, I will attempt to simplify and modernize some of the writings of Václav Havel, written in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, in what was then Czechoslovakia. Why? Because I believe his advice is important to us in this day and age, especially when the shadow of totalitarianism creeps ever closer and the dark cloud of our New World Order looms over us and darkens every day.
Havel could see that his ‘post-totalitarian society’ stood “as a warning to the West, revealing to it its own latent tendencies.” Those ‘latent’ tendencies are ‘latent’ no more. They are not ‘hidden’, ‘occult’, ‘sleeping-but-ready-to-come-alive’; the tendencies to conform and consume, just to have an easy life, are alive, growing and easy to see in everyone except our-self. All we really need to do, to understand Havel’s message, is to simply replace the words, ‘post-totalitarian state’, with ‘New World Order’.
“In highly simplified terms, it could be said that the post-totalitarian system [New World Order] has been built on foundations laid by the historical encounter between dictatorship and the consumer society. Is it not true that the far-reaching adaptability to living a lie and the effortless spread of social auto-totality have some connection with the general unwillingness of consumption-oriented people to sacrifice some material certainties for the sake of their own spiritual and moral integrity? With their willingness to surrender higher values when faced with the trivializing temptations of modern civilization? With their vulnerability to the attractions of mass indifference? And in the end, is not the greyness and the emptiness of life in the post-totalitarian system [New World Order] only an inflated caricature of modern life in general?”
Why are Havel’s observations and his advice so important?
Reading Havel’s description of his country, and what ‘normal’ behaviour is in a totalitarian society, is disturbing. It is disturbing because it could well be describing my country today; it is most important now, because Havel’s advice can help us to survive in our New World Order, and it is important because totalitarianism is going global as the ‘New World Order’ evolves.
I believe Havel is trying to say what should be obvious to us all…
We are Living within a Lie. Everything presented to our senses is trivial, unimportant and unwholesome; Havel calls it “the aesthetics of banality”. Our news, food, entertainment, politics, even our work, are unsatisfying because they are fake; or, at least, drained of all goodness and virtue, until all we are left with are ‘trivial pursuits’.
When honest people Live within a Lie, naturally they turn ‘inward’ and concentrate on survival, and pretend to themselves and others that they are happy and content. Fear forces people to behave in the expected manner. The only place of refuge is inside one’s own head; but even here there is no escape. Distracted by all sorts of trivial entertainment, and confused by all sorts of conflicting ‘facts’ and technical jargon (commonly known as BS – BullShit), people give up trying to think and allow their minds to be manipulated by the media. Critical thinkers are not welcome in this New World Order.
Leading a double life, disconnected from all that is natural and wholesome, a kind of ‘social schizophrenia’ sets in. Those who can’t cope are labelled ‘mentally ill’ and are prescribed drugs to numb their minds of the depression they suffer. People feel powerless to fulfil their natural potential.
Living in Truth is the cure. Being honest with one’s self, with others, and finding like-minded people, creates an underground culture that defeats the abuse of power by the State without the need to resort to revolution or an armed uprising. The arts play a vital role in promoting this sub-culture. Our participation in this sub-culture leads to an ‘awakening human community’ that can support each other. Holding up a mirror to the State and corporations, showing them how inhuman they have become, these ‘communities of the shaken’ can even influence political decisions. ‘Dissidents’ or campaigners should not, however, get ‘too-big-for-their-boots’. Playing at being politicians is not necessary, and even makes them look foolish. Simply Living in Truth is sufficient to create a humane reality that can be shared with others. Courage and determination may be needed, but all that is really required is simply a human conscience; something that politics and corporations lack.
In Havel’s “Letter to Dr Gustav Husak” (then, General Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party), he describes the reality of a ‘post-totalitarian regime’, which is frighteningly similar to Western democracy today. He asks that the regime uses its ‘historic responsibility’ to make things better; knowing that it can’t, because it has created its own destruction.
In “The Power of the Powerless”, Havel reminds us that we, the so-called ‘Powerless’, have Power; and that we can use this power to challenge authority. He explains that Living in Truth is the only cure to Living within a Lie; and why Living in Truth is our power and the biggest threat to the powerful. Living in Truth is an act of personal responsibility; but escaping from our responsibilities, by handing them over to the State, is to Live within the Lie. He concludes that the ‘brighter future’ we so much long for, has perhaps
“been here for a long time already, and only our own blindness and weakness has prevented us from seeing it around us and within us, and kept us from developing it?” [pg. 122]
In “Six Asides About Culture”, Havel shows that culture is a reflection of the human spirit. Art is ‘good’ when
“it sets our drowsy souls and lazy hearts ‘moving’! And can we separate the awakening human soul from what it always, already is – an awakening human community?” [pg. 135]
“Politics and Conscience” shows that politics has no conscience. The basis of impersonal power is knowledge without conscience; an export of Western Europe that has turned on its creators with a vengeance. The need for a totalitarian New World Order is a symptom of a global crisis of civilization.
“Yes, ‘anti-political politics’ is possible. Politics ‘from below’. Politics of man, not of the apparatus. Politics growing from the heart, not a thesis.” [pg. 157]
“Does not the perspective of a better future depend on something like an international community of the shaken which, ignoring state boundaries, political systems, and power blocs, standing outside the high game of traditional politics, aspiring to no titles and appointments, will seek to make a real political force out of a phenomenon so ridiculed by the technicians of power – the phenomenon of human conscience?” [pg. 157; emphasis mine]
In “Thriller” Havel pointedly shows that ancient myths and legends, and modern science and reason, are similar because they are both equally delusional.
“It seems to me that man has what we call a human heart, but that he also has something of the baboon within him. The modern age treats the heart as a pump and denies the presence of the baboon within us. And so again and again, this officially non-existent baboon, unobserved, goes on the rampage, either as the personal bodyguard of a politician, or wearing the uniform of the most scientific police force in the world.” [162-3]
Pathetically, ‘peace groups’ come from the West to offer support through ‘dialogue and co-operation’ to the Eastern European ‘dissidents’. In “An Anatomy of Reticence”, Havel seeks to
“explain why I believe that east European dissidents are, and in the future in all likelihood will remain, cautious in their own distinctive manner whenever they are called upon to take part in peace activities.” [pg. 195]
I think the real message to those well-meaning Western ‘peace activists’ was: ‘You dreamers should shut up, go home, and start Living in Truth!’
“A dissident runs the risk of becoming ridiculous only when he transgresses the limits of his natural existence and enters the hypothetical realm of real power, that is, in effect, into the realm of sheer speculation… He became ludicrous only when he became a dreamer playing at tactics. A dreamer playing at tactics is a minister without a ministry, a general without an army, a president without a republic. Alienated from his role as a witness of history, yet unwelcome in the role of its organizer, he finds himself in a strange vacuum – outside the credibility of power and outside the credibility of truth.” [pg. 194]
Quite simply, there is no difference between Czechoslovakia 1975 and The World 2017. The New World Order is not a future prospect. It is here and already present; shaping our Culture and History through celebrity art and celebrity politics. We are the New World Order.