has he really given more than a moment’s thought

The Smart Set:

That willingness to float down the river of pseudolife is a problem common to all individuals, and is not reserved for the powerful or the weak or the doltish. “Individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.” To prove his point, Havel makes the main character in The Power of the Powerless a greengrocer — an innocent shopkeeper, who only wants to sell us fruit and vegetables! The greengrocer is a prototype of the average person who longs for meaning and allows his moral vacuum to be filled with easy, empty ideology.

The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?


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