Summer Meditations

Originally published in Czech as LETNI PREMITANI (1991), SUMMER MEDITATIONS has been updated for its release in English. It includes Havel’s thoughts on the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the apparent failure of his own proposals in the face of resistance by the Parliament. It does not recant any previous position; instead, though it expresses frustration over the opportunism rampant in the new government, it reiterates Havel’s essential ideas of government: a free market economy, the rule of law, restoration of the environment, and the stimulation of culture.

“Through intrigue one may easily become prime minister...[O]ne can hardly improve the world that way.” It is easy to mistake Havel’s profoundly humane politics as naive, but his proposals and policies are concrete and well considered. They are based primarily on decency and common sense, but also on historical experience, informed opinion, and what Havel calls “good taste.”

These reflections give substantial attention to the Slovakian question. Havel sympathizes with the Slovak position; he does, however, strongly discourage dividing the states. It is, he concedes, entirely up to the Slovaks, but his vision is of a country of strong local government where the Slovaks would have no special grievance against Prague.

Havel’s consistency is demonstrated by what he writes concerning his presidential future. He declares he has no interest in being the president of a divided country nor in fighting for his position.