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Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Quotes (82 Quotes)


  • 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.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • 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.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • A person who longs to leave the place where he lives is an unhappy person.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • How did the senator know that children meant happiness? Could he see into their souls? What if the moment they were out of sight, three of them jumped the fourth and began beating him up?
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • The goals we pursue are always veiled. A girl who longs for marriage longs for something she knows nothing about. The boy who hankers after fame has no idea what fame is. The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


  • 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.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • 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.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • When a person is clubbed violently on the head, he collapses and stops breathing. Some day, he will stop breathing anyway.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Fidelity gives a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Seeing is limited by two borders: Strong light, which blinds, and total darkness.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limits of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Human life occurs only once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can make only one decision; we are not granted a second, third, or fourth life in which to compare various decisions.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • The novel is not the author's confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • 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
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • 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.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")