Almost from childhood, she knew that a concentration camp was nothing exceptional or startling but something very basic, a given into which we are born and from which we can escape only with the greatest of efforts.
Even though the sewer pipelines reach far into our houses with their tentacles, they are carefully hidden from view and we are happily ignorant of the invisible Venice of shit underlying our bathrooms, bedrooms, dance halls, and parliaments.
People derived too much pleasure from seeing their fellow man morally humiliated to spoil that pleasure by hearing out an explanation.
Then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. Their situation is a dangerous as the situation in the first category. One day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark.
And therein lies the whole of man's plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.
Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out is mute. Only chance can speak to us. We read its message much as gypsies read the images made by coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup.
If he invited her to come, then come she would, and offer him up her life.
Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears once and for all, which does not return, is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing.
There are things that can be accomplished only by violence. Physical love is unthinkable without violence.
And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?
Fidelity gives a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions.
If I had two lives, in one life I could invite her to stay at my place, and in the second life I could kick her out. Then I could compare and see which had been the best thing to do. But we only live once. Life's so light. Like an outline we can't ever fill in or correct... make any better. It's frightening".
Seeing is limited by two borders: Strong light, which blinds, and total darkness.
This reconciliation with Hitler reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything cynically permitted.
Anyone who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals is overlooking a basic truth: The criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise. They defended that road so valiantly that they were forced to execute many people. Later it became clear that there was no paradise, that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers.
First he sympathized with Cuba, then with China, and when the cruelty of their regimes began to appall him, he resigned himself with a sigh to a sea of words with no weight and no resemblance to life.
If it were possible to raise the penis by means of a simple command, then sexual excitement would have no place in the world.
She fixed him with a long careful, searching stare that was not devoid of irony's intelligent sparkle
Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.
Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.
Flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.
If rejection and priviledge are one and the same, if there is no difference between the sublime and the paltry, if Son of God can undergo judgement of shit, then human existence loses its dimensions and becomes unbearable light.
She had come to him to escape her mother's world, a world where all bodies were equal. She had come to him to make her body unique, irreplaceble. But he, too had drawn an equal sign between her and the rest of them: he kissed them all alike, stroked them all alike, made no, absolutely no distiction between Tereza's body and the other bodies. He sent her back to the world she tried to escape, sent to march naked with the other naked women
Tomas turned the key and switched on the ceiling light. Teraza saw two beds pushed together, one of them flanked by a bedside table and a lamp. Up out of the lampshade, startled by the overhead light, flew a large nocturnal butterfly that began circling the room. The strains of the piano and violin rose up weakly from below.
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.
More Milan Kundera Quotations (Based on Topics)
Love - People - Life - Man - World - Time - Woman - Emotions - Mind - Light - Metaphor & Analogy - Movies - Soul - Performance Arts - Good & Evil - War & Peace - Truth - Happiness - Childhood - View All Milan Kundera Quotations
More Milan Kundera Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being
William Arthur Ward - Thomas Paine - Rudyard Kipling - Robert Louis Stevenson - Paul Davies - Karen Armstrong - Joseph Addison - Ella Wheeler Wilcox - Bill Bryson - Anthony Hope