Being a woman is a fate Sabina did not choose. What we have not chosen we cannot consider either to our merit or our failure. Sabina believed that she had to assume to correct attitude to her unchosen faith. To rebel against being born a woman seemed as foolish to her as taking pride in it.
For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit? In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.
In spite of their love, they had made each other's life a hell. The fact that they loved each other was merely proof that the fault lay not in themselves, in their behavior or inconstancy of feeling, but rather in their incompatibility: he was strong and she was weak.
She knew, of course that she was being supremely unfair, that Franz was the best man she ever had- he was intelligent, he understood her paintings, he was handsome and good-but the more she thought about it, the more she longed to ravish his intelligence, defile his kindheartedness, and violate his powerless strength
We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under . . . The fourth category, the rarest, is the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.
Being in a foreign country means walking a tightrope high above the ground without the net afforded a person by the country where he has his family, colleagues, and friends, and where he can easily say what he has to say in a language he has known from childhood.
For Sabina, living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful. Having a public, keeping a public in mind, means living in lies.
It follows, then, that the aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist. This aesthetic ideal is called kitsch.
She regarded books as the emblems of secret brotherhood. A man with this sort of library couldn't possibly hurt her.
What does it mean to live in truth? Putting it negatively is easy enough: it means not lying, not hiding, and not dissimulating.
Between the approximation of the idea and the precision of reality there was a small gap of the unimaginable, and it was this hiatus that gave him no rest.
From tender youth we are told by father and teacher that betrayal is the most heinous offense imaginable. But what is betrayal?…Betrayal means breaking ranks and breaking off into the unknown. Sabina knew of nothing more magnificent than going off into the unknown.
Living for Sabina meant seeing. Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness. Perhaps that was what motivated Sabina's distaste for all extremism. Extremes mean borders beyond which life ends, and a passion for extremism, in art and in politics, is a veiled longing for death.
Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil.
When a person is clubbed violently on the head, he collapses and stops breathing. Some day, he will stop breathing anyway.
But all he could think of was what Sabina would have said about it. Everything he did, he did for Sabina, the way Sabina would have liked to see it done. It was a perfectly innocent form of infidelity and one eminently suited to Franz, who would never have done his bespectacled student-mistress any harm. He nourished the cult of Sabina more as a religion than as love
He saw the marching, shouting crowd as the image of Europe and its history. Europe was the Grand March. The march from revolution to revolution, from struggle to struggle, ever onward.
Men who pursue a multitude of women fit neatly into two categories. Some seek their own subjective and unchanging dream of a woman in all women. Others are prompted by a desire to possess the endless variety of the objective female in the world.
Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and your decision persists by the power of inertia. Every year it gets harder to change.
When a private talk over a bottle of wine is broadcast on the radio, what can it mean but that the world is turning into a concentration camp?
But if we betray B., for whom we betrayed A., it does not necessarily follow that we have placated A. The life of a divorcée-painter did not in the least resemble the life of the parents she had betrayed. The first betrayal is irreparable. It calls forth a chain reaction of further betrayals, each of which takes us farther and farther away from the point of our original betrayal.
He suddenly felt dismayed at how little he had seen of her the last two years; he had so few opportunities to press her hands in his to stop them from trembling.
No matter how brutal life becomes, peace always reign in the cemetery.
Tereza had gone back to sleep; he could not. He pictured her death. She was dead and having terrible nightmares; but because she was dead, he was unable to wake her from them. Yes, that is death: Tereza asleep, having terrible nightmares, and he unable to wake her.
When graves are covered with stones, the dead can no longer get out. But the dead can't go out anyway! What difference does it make whether they're covered with soil or stones?
But just make someone who has fallen in love listen to his stomach rumble, and the unity of body and soul, that lyrical illusion of the age of science , instantly fades away.
He who gives himself up like a prisoner of war must give up his weapons as well. And deprived in advance of defense against a possible blow, he cannot help wondering when the blow will fall.
No one can give anyone else the gift of the idyll; only an animal can do so, because only animals were not expelled from Paradise. The love between dog and man is idyllic. It knows no conflicts, no hair-raising scenes; it knows no development.
Tereza knew what happens during the moment love is born: the woman cannot resist the voice calling forth her terrified soul; the man cannot resist the woman whose soul thus responds to his voice.
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.
More Milan Kundera Quotations (Based on Topics)
Love - Man - People - Life - World - Time - Woman - Mind - Light - Emotions - Soul - Performance Arts - Good & Evil - War & Peace - Truth - Happiness - Metaphor & Analogy - Movies - Power - View All Milan Kundera Quotations
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