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By what means to live our individuality in that mutuality with accountable uprightness is what the great Czech dissident Václav Havel (October 5, 1936–December 18, 2011) addressed in his 1995 at Harvard inaugural speech. Latterly published under the title “Radical Renewal of Human Responsibility” in his compiled speeches and writings, The Art of the Impossible: Politics as Morality in Practice.
Havel, a man of colossal intellect and literary genius, who personified Walt Whitman’s firmness that literature, is essential for democracy. Who moved from playwright to president, who tolerated several imprisonments to maintain his principles of righteousness, humanism, anti-materialism, and an environmentally concerned soul, recounts an occurrence that sobered him to the irretrievable forces of globalization.
It is a challenge to this civilization to start understanding itself as a multi-cultural and a multi-polar civilization, whose meaning lies not in undermining the individuality of different spheres of culture and civilization but in allowing them to be more completely themselves. After all, politics is a matter of servicing the community, which means that it is morality in practice, and how better to serve the community and practice morality than by seeking in the midst of the global (and globally threatened) civilization their own global political responsibility: that is, their responsibility for the very survival of the human race.
“I have been given to understand how small this world is and how it torments itself with countless things it need not torment itself with if people could find within themselves a little more courage, a little more hope, a little more responsibility, a little more mutual understanding and love. I have been given to understand how small this world is and how it torments itself with countless things it need not torment itself with if people could find within themselves a little more courage, a little more hope, a little more responsibility, a little more mutual understanding and love.
In essence, this new, single epidermis of world civilization merely covers or conceals the immense variety of cultures, of peoples, of religious worlds, of historical traditions and historically formed attitudes, all of which in a sense lie “beneath” it. Had he not deceived himself and the whole world into believing that an agreement could be made with this madman, had he instead shown a few teeth, perhaps the Second World War need not have happened, and tens of thousands of young Americans need not have died fighting in it.
Reflecting his own life experiences with the surprise of one who matured up under the locked-in patriotism of a communist dictatorial system, then moved on to travel to places like Singapore and speak to the graduating class at Harvard, Havel finishes on a note of drastic, responsible hope:
I have been given to understand how small this world is and how it torments itself with countless things it need not torment itself with if people could find within themselves a little more courage, a little more hope, a little more responsibility, a little more mutual understanding and love.

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