His overriding life necessity was not love, it was his profession…He had come to medicine not by coincidence or calculation but by a deep inner desire. Insofar as it is possible to divide people into categories, the surest criterion is the deep-seated desires that orient them to one or another lifelong activity. Every Frenchman is different. But all the actors the world over are similar.
The day after his father left, Franz and his mother went into town together, and as they left home Franz noticed that her shoes did not match. He was in a quandary: he wanted to point out the mistake, but was afraid he would hurt her. So, during the two hours they spent walking through the city together he kept his eyes focused on her feet. It was then he had his first inkling of what it means to suffer.
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.
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.
What does it mean to live in truth? Putting it negatively is easy enough: it means not lying, not hiding, and not dissimulating.
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.
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.
A person who longs to leave the place where he lives is an unhappy person.
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?
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.
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.
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.
When a person is clubbed violently on the head, he collapses and stops breathing. Some day, he will stop breathing anyway.
Fidelity gives a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions.
Seeing is limited by two borders: Strong light, which blinds, and total darkness.
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.
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.
The novel is not the author's confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become
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
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.
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?
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.
She fixed him with a long careful, searching stare that was not devoid of irony's intelligent sparkle
The river flowed from century to century, and human affairs play themselves out on its banks. Play themselves out to be forgotten the next day, while the river flows on.
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.
No matter how brutal life becomes, peace always reign in the cemetery.
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?
Flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.
More Milan Kundera Quotations (Based on Topics)
Love - Man - Life - People - World - Time - Woman - Mind - Emotions - Light - Movies - Happiness - Soul - Performance Arts - War & Peace - Truth - Good & Evil - Metaphor & Analogy - Death & Dying - View All Milan Kundera Quotations
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