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


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  • People derived too much pleasure from seeing their fellow man morally humiliated to spoil that pleasure by hearing out an explanation.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

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

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

  • 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")

  • If he invited her to come, then come she would, and offer him up her life.
    (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")

  • There are things that can be accomplished only by violence. Physical love is unthinkable without violence.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?
    (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")

  • 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".
    (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")

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

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

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

  • If it were possible to raise the penis by means of a simple command, then sexual excitement would have no place in the world.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


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