Milan Kundera Quotes (136 Quotes)




    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.


    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.




    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.



    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.



    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.



    Tereza had gone back to sleep; he could not. He pictured her death. She was dead and having terrible nightmares; but because she was dead, he was unable to wake her from them. Yes, that is death: Tereza asleep, having terrible nightmares, and he unable to wake her.



    More Milan Kundera Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Love - People - Life - Man - World - Time - Woman - Mind - Emotions - Light - Truth - Good & Evil - Metaphor & Analogy - Happiness - Movies - Soul - Performance Arts - War & Peace - Death & Dying - View All Milan Kundera Quotations

    More Milan Kundera Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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