Collective Illusions: Will Topple Governments, Change Your Life

“…In everyone, there is some willingness to merge with the anonymous crowd and to flow comfortably along with it down the river of pseudo-life.”

-Vaclav Havel 

My man Vaclav was a Czech author, playwright, poet, and dissident. His work has been credited as being a major catalyst for The Velvet Revolution, a non-violent transition of power that ended 40-plus years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. 

If you’re anything like me, you are biased toward violent transitions of power but bear with me, there’s a dope story here. 

Havel knew that, almost unanimously, his countrymen detested Communism. He also knew that no one was willing to publicly speak up about it for fear of being brutally repressed AND because they feared speaking out alone. People under Communist rule in the country fell under a spell that Todd Rose would call a ‘Collective Illusion‘. 

In short, they thought that because there was no dissent, everyone else must support Communism and that their own individual perception was not widely held. 

Havel broke the spell with a powerfully underrated social tool, comedy. Specifically, political satire in the form of a play he wrote called The Garden Party. His satire was veiled enough to make it past Communist censers, but hard-hitting and recognizable enough to arouse the people and shatter their collective illusions. 

This blog started with the second half of a quote by Havel that speaks to a human tendency to give in to what is comfortable and safe, what we think will preserve us.

 In the first half, he articulates another tendency of ours, an urge to express the best version of ourselves, to fight against the sedative effects of submitting to the crowd. He is speaking with the authenticity of a man who faced the gravest persecution to speak his truth. 

What’s the takeaway for you and me?

If we are willing to search deep enough within ourselves and dig into the ways we view the world, there are opportunities to disrupt what Vaclav Havel would call ‘‘profane trivializations’’ of our inherent humanity. Meaning, we can hunt for thoughts and beliefs that are not actually in alignment with the core of who we are. Often, we hold onto these beliefs because we think we are ‘supposed’ to have them. 

“In everyone, there is some longing for humanity’s rightful dignity, for moral integrity, for free expression of being and a sense of transcendence over the world of existence.”

11/28/23 WOD

DEUCE Athletics GPP

Spend 15 minutes build to to a Heavy Double Front Squat

Then, Drop Set:
2x 6 1 1/4 Front Squats

Complete 2 rounds of the following for time:
1 Block Run
100 Double Unders



Snatch Balance

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:
8 Snatch Grip Sotts Press
10 Paused Single Arm DB Rows L
10 Paused Single Arm DB Rows R

Then, AMRAP 8
3 Power Snatches (135/95)
6 Overhead Squats
12 Double Unders