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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quotes from "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera is Czech. I like his humor, his soft and dry philosophy. This  book is about "the fragile nature of the fate of the individual and theorized that a single lifetime is insignificant in the scope of Nietzsche's concept of eternal return because in an infinite universe, everything is guaranteed to recur infinitely." I like it because it does fit my ideas of everlasting renaissance, life as a double-infinite sequence of bridges.
  • "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."  

  • "Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? 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."

  • "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."
  • "The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man's body.The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?"

  • "But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave." 

  • "Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication, if you like); it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine--to dream about things that have not happened--is among mankind's deepest needs. Herein lies the danger. If dreams were not beautiful, they would be quickly forgotten."

  • "There is no perfection only life"

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