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A Literary Guide to Understanding Tyrannies and Dictatorships

Havel is one of the great heroes of the 20th century, a playwright and towering intellect frequently jailed for his involvement in dissident organizations like Charter 77, who wrought change by simply deciding to act as if Communist Czechoslovakia was a free society. Among the arguments he posited in this extensive essay was that by "living in truth" in their daily lives, people could differentiate themselves from the officially mandated culture proscribed by the State since power depends on submission to succeed.

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