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Quotes of the day: Milan Kundera
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Published Friday, April 01, 2016 @ 10:01 AM EDT
Apr 01 2016

Milan Kundera (b. April 1, 1929) is a Czech-born writer who went into exile in France in 1975, and became a naturalised French citizen in 1981. He "sees himself as a French writer and insists his work should be studied as French literature and classified as such in book stores". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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A person who longs to leave the place where he lives is an unhappy person.

A single metaphor can give birth to love.

A worker may be the hammer's master, but the hammer still prevails. A tool knows exactly how it is meant to be handled, while the user of the tool can only have an approximate idea.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.

And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.

Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity.

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

Hate traps us by binding us too tightly to our adversary.

He suddenly recalled from Plato's Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split then in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.

How goodness heightens beauty!

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.

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

Love is by definition an unmerited gift; being loved without meriting it is the very proof of real love.

Loves are like empires: when the idea they are founded on crumbles, they, too, fade away.

Metaphors are dangerous. Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.

Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches.

No matter how much we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.

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.

People are going deaf because music is played louder and louder, but because they're going deaf, it has to be played louder still.

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

The only relationship that can make both partners happy is one in which sentimentality has no place and neither partner makes any claim on the life and freedom of the other.

The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness.

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

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

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.

There is no perfection only life.

There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels for someone, for someone, pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echos.

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.

Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's beautiful.

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.

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

You can understand nothing about art, particularly modern art, if you do not understand that imagination is a value in itself.

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

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(April 1 is also the birthday of Abraham Maslow and Otto von Bismarck.)


Categories: Milan Kundera, Quotes of the day


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