Abroad, she discovered that the transformation of music into noise was a planetary process by which mankind was entering the historical phase of total ugliness. The total ugliness to come had made itself felt first as omnipresent acoustical ugliness: cars, motorcycles, electric guitars, drills, loudspeakers, sirens. The omnipresence of visual ugliness would soon follow.
Even at the age of eight she would fall asleep by pressing one hand into the other and making believe she was holding the hand of the man whom she loved, the man of her life. So if in her sleep she pressed Tomas hand with such tenacity, we can understand why: she had been training since childhood.
I sometimes have the feeling that her entire life was merely a continuation of her mother's, much as the course of a ball on the billiard table is merely the continuation of the player's arm movement.
Our lives may be separate, but they run in the same direction, like parallel lines.
The senator had only one argument in his favour: his feeling. When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme.
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.
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?
More Milan Kundera Quotations (Based on Topics)
Love - People - Man - Life - World - Time - Woman - Light - Mind - Emotions - Metaphor & Analogy - Movies - Good & Evil - Soul - Performance Arts - Happiness - War & Peace - Truth - Betrayal - View All Milan Kundera Quotations
More Milan Kundera Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being
William Arthur Ward - Thomas Paine - Margaret J. Wheatley - Joseph Addison - Herbert Kaufman - Bram Stoker - Bill Bryson - Anthony Hope - Anne Frank - Agatha Christie