I like Vaclav Havel. I do. How can you not? I mean he was a major voice during the revolution and he was an Artist-Politician. I like that. However, I know not everyone in this country likes him, but when he chimes in on topics both dealing with Prague, culture, government, and/or Europe I really enjoy what he has to say. I won’t go into depth on it, but I wanted to share a portion of an article (Václav Havel regrets post-communist reform left unfinished) I read recently about his thoughts about life post-communism.
Havel does not hide his disappointment at ex-communist societies following the west in embracing globalisation and rampant consumerism, the interviewer, Stefan Wagstyl, writes.
“It is a two-faced trend: on the one hand it brings people thousands of advantages and joys and pleasures; on the other, it is endangering the human race,” he quotes Havel as saying.
Pointing to a mobile phone he says: “Fifty years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined this little device could be used to make calls all over the world, to make video recordings, and to send images. If someone had told me about this then, I would have thought the future world would be a wonderful one when people would have these things and would be able to communicate better. But that didn’t happen. The world today is worse, and it is full of more traps and contradictions than it was 50 years ago.”
In reaction to Wagstyl’s objection that at least in post-communist Central Europe the world is incomparably better than 50 years ago, Havel admits that it is good that the Iron Curtain has fallen and that Communism has ended.
“But that still doesn’t mean that the world is a better place,” he points out.
What I couldn’t help but think as I read the article is that Havel is longing for something more. Something better. The Kingdom that is aloof to many Czechs. As I was saying to a friend recently, when one political party replaces another or one system replaces another, that might be good, BUT it’s not enough. If the central person isn’t Jesus it will provide momentary change, but sure enough sooner or later people will be echoing Havel, “But that still doesn’t mean that the world is a better place.” This is a lesson many of us could stand to learn, especially in America, as we are all very hopeful about what a change in the White House, come the fall, could bring. Let’s be grounded – a new president won’t solve our problems, just as merely replacing communism hasn’t solved all of Czechs problems. It could be said that new problems surfaced, or they still may have some similar problems. Now I would, as almost every Czech would, take the problems of today over those of backward regime bent on it’s one power – that being the communists. Simply, may we look to Jesus for the deep lasting change!