imagesIt’s been quite a long time since my last entry with memorable quotes I have written down in my pocket dairy. Here it comes, Words of Wisdom vol.4. This time, however, it is going to be focused on a single author I admire greatly, Milan Kundera. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is without a doubt among my most favorite novels and the one I keep calling “my book form”. I sensed a special connection to Kundera and to this novel and often as I read, I felt I am reading my own thoughts – just formulated in a better way. Similarly, I fell in love with The Book of Laughter and Forgettingmy second novel in the world of Kundera. This post is a tribute to this amazing author and the numerous, numerous Kundera quotes that occupy my pocket book.

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From The Unbearable Lightness of Being:

For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.

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In Tereza’s eyes, books were the emblems of a secret brotherhood for she had but a single weapon against the world of crudity surrounding her: the books she took out of the municipal library and above all the novels. She had read any number of them, from Fielding to Thomas Mann. They not only offered the possibility of an imaginary escape from a life she found unsatisfying; they also had a meaning for her as physical objects: she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.

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No, vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us, which tempts and lures us; it is the desire to fall against which terrified we defend ourselves.

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“Pick me up” – is the message of a person who keeps falling.

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We might call vertigo the intoxication of the weak. Aware of his weakness a man decides to give in rather than stand up to it. He is drunk with weakness, wishes to grow even weaker, wishes to fall down in the middle of the main square in front of everybody, wishes to be down, lower than down.

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What is unique about the “I” hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person. All we are able to imagine is what makes everyone like everyone else, what people have in common. The individual “I” is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered.

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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.

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Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearn to be loved, that is we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.

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And therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time doesn’t turn in a circle. It runs ahead in a straight line. That’s why one cannot be happy; happiness is the longing for repetition.

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kundera3From The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Every love relationship rests on an unwritten agreement unthinkingly concluded by the lovers in their first weeks of love. They are still in a kind of a dream but at the same time, without knowing it, are drawing up like uncompromising lawyers, the detailed clauses of their contract. O, lovers! Be careful in those dangerous first days! Once you’ve brought breakfast in bed, you’ll have to bring it forever, unless you want to be accused of lovelessness and betrayal.

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The future is only an indifferent void no one cares about, but the past is filled with life and its countenance is irritating, repellent, wounding, to the point that we want to destroy or repaint it. We want to be masters of the future only for the power to change the past.

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She knew that there were all kinds of ways to make a conquest, and that one of the surest roads to a woman’s genitals is through her sadness.

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The phrase “It’s absolutely the same with me, I…” seems to be an approving echo, a way of continuing the other’s thoughts, but that is an illusion; in reality it is a brute revolt against a brutal violence, an effort to free our own ear from bondage and to occupy the enemy’s ear by force. Because all of man’s life among his kind is nothing other than battle to seize the ear of others.

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More Words of Wisdom:

Words of Wisdom vol. 1

Words of Wisdom vol. 2

Words of Wisdom vol. 3