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Milan Kundera Quotes

Czech-born novelist, Birth: 1-4-1929 Milan Kundera Quotes
1.
The man hunched over his motorcycle can focus only on the present... he is caught in a fragment of time cut off from both the past and the future... he has no fear, because the source of fear is in the future, and a person freed of the future has nothing to fear.
Milan Kundera

2.
The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was... The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
Milan Kundera

3.
The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.
Milan Kundera

4.
People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.
Milan Kundera

5.
The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.
Milan Kundera

Similar Authors: Mark Twain C. S. Lewis Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Haruki Murakami Ayn Rand Charles Dickens George Eliot Albert Camus Kurt Vonnegut Victor Hugo Chuck Palahniuk Margaret Atwood Virginia Woolf Ernest Hemingway George R. R. Martin
6.
There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.
Milan Kundera

7.
The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.
Milan Kundera

8.
There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, "sketch" is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.
Milan Kundera

Quote Topics by Milan Kundera: Men People Memories Love Is Mean Lying Unbearable Thinking Children Unbearable Lightness Of Being Book Past World Doe Two Writing Ideas Eye Love Self Dream Beautiful Dog Art Want Character Inspirational Feelings Fall Games
9.
Those who consider the Devil to be a partisan of Evil and angels to be warriors for Good accept the demagogy of the angels. Things are clearly more complicated.
Milan Kundera

10.
Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You'd dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You'd see the face of a stranger. And you'd know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.
Milan Kundera

11.
Sleep in my arms. Like a baby bird. Like a broom among brooms... in a broom closet. Like a tiny parrot. Like a whistle. Like a little song. A song sung by a forest... within a forest... a thousand years ago.
Milan Kundera

12.
Dreaming is not merely an act of communication; it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself.
Milan Kundera

13.
Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being.
Milan Kundera

14.
I understand you, and I shall not attempt to make you change your mind. I am too old to want to improve the world. I have told you what I think, and that is all. I shall remain your friend even if you act contrary to my convictions, and I shall help you even if I disagree with you.
Milan Kundera

15.
The worst thing is not that the world is unfree, but that people have unlearned their liberty.
Milan Kundera

16.
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.
Milan Kundera

17.
Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).
Milan Kundera

18.
When we want to give expression to a dramatic situation in our lives, we tend to use metaphors of heaviness. We say that something has become a great burden to us. We either bear the burden or fail and go down with it, we struggle with it, win or lose. And Sabina - what had come over her? Nothing. She had left a man because she felt like leaving him. Had he persecuted her? Had he tried to take revenge on her? No. Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden, but the unbearable lightness of being.
Milan Kundera

19.
Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
Milan Kundera

20.
We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded. We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing. Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.
Milan Kundera

21.
In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.
Milan Kundera

22.
Memory does not make films, it makes photographs.
Milan Kundera

23.
I feel a frantic desire to free myself. To start all over again and in another way.
Milan Kundera

24.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace.
Milan Kundera

25.
High culture is nothing but a child of that European perversion called history, the obsession we have with going forward, with considering the sequence of generations a relay race in which everyone surpasses his predecessor, only to be surpassed by his successor. Without this relay race called history there would be no European art and what characterizes it: a longing for originality, a longing for change. Robespierre, Napoleon, Beethoven, Stalin, Picasso, they're all runners in the relay race, they all belong to the same stadium.
Milan Kundera

26.
Oh 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.
Milan Kundera

27.
Humanity's true moral test, its fundamental test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.
Milan Kundera

28.
The love between dog and man is idyllic, dogs were never expelled from paradise.
Milan Kundera

29.
We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
Milan Kundera

30.
The worth of a human being lies in the ability to extend oneself, to go outside oneself, to exist in and for other people.
Milan Kundera

31.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.
Milan Kundera

32.
You can't measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.
Milan Kundera

33.
All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual.
Milan Kundera

34.
I think, therefore I am' is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.
Milan Kundera

35.
Living, there is no happiness in that. Living: carrying one’s painful self through the world. But being, being is happiness. Being: Becoming a fountain, a fountain on which the universe falls like warm rain.
Milan Kundera

36.
Every love relationship rests on an unwritten agreement unthinkingly concluded by the lovers in the first weeks of their love. They are still in a kind of 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.
Milan Kundera

37.
Man can only be certain about the present moment. But is that quite true either? Can he really know the present? Is he in a position to make any judgment about it? Certainly not. For how can a person with no knowledge of the future understand the meaning of the present? If we do not know what future the present is leading us toward, how can we say whether this present is good or bad, whether it deserves our concurrence, or our suspicion, or our hatred?
Milan Kundera

38.
Nudity is the uniform of the other side... nudity is a shroud.
Milan Kundera

39.
To laugh is to live profoundly.
Milan Kundera

40.
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.
Milan Kundera

41.
But isn't it true that an author can write only about himself?
Milan Kundera

42.
The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
Milan Kundera

43.
loves are like empires: when the idea they are founded on crumbles, they, too, fade away.
Milan Kundera

44.
In the mind of a woman for whom no place is home the thought of an end to all flight is unbearable.
Milan Kundera

45.
People fascinated by the idea of progress never suspect that every step forward is also a step on the way to the end.
Milan Kundera

46.
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.
Milan Kundera

47.
How could she feel nostalgia when he was right in front of her? How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present? You can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more.
Milan Kundera

48.
Happiness is the longing for repetition.
Milan Kundera

49.
Optimism is the opium of the people.
Milan Kundera

50.
Dogs do not have many advantages over people, but one of them is extremely important: euthanasia is not forbidden by law in their case; animals have the right to a merciful death.
Milan Kundera