Milan Kundera Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 539 quotes)
She had an overwhelming desire to tell him, like the most banal of women. Don't let me go, hold me tight, make me your plaything, your slave, be strong! But they were words she could not say. The only thing she said when he released her from his embrace was, "You don't know how happy I am to be with you." That was the most her reserved nature allowed her to express.
He was repelled by the pettiness that reduced life to mere existence and that turned men into half-men. He wanted to lay his life on a balance, the other side of which was weighted with death. He wanted to make his every action, every day, yes, every hour and minute worthy of being measured against the ultimate, which is death.
In times when history still moved slowly, events were few and far between and easily committed to memory. They formed a commonly accepted backdrop for thrilling scenes of adventure in private life. Nowadays, history moves at a brisk clip. A historical event, though soon forgotten, sparkles the morning after with the dew of novelty. No longer a backdrop, it is now the adventure itself, an adventure enacted before the backdrop of the commonly accepted banality of private life.
Sometimes (more in sport than from real concern) I defended myself against the charge of individualism and demanded from the others proof that I was an individualist. For want of concrete evidence they would say:? Its the way you behave??How do I behave??You have a strange kind of smil?.?And If I do? Thats how I express my joy?
What remains of the dying population of Cambodia? One large photograph of an American actress holding an Asian child in her arms. What remains of Tomas? An inscription reading: "He wanted the Kingdom of God on Earth." What remains of Beethoven? A frown, an improbable mane, and a somber voice intoning "Es muss sein!" What remains of Franz? An inscription reading: "A return after long wanderings." And so on and so forth. Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.
We don't know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don't understand our name at all, we don't know its history and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity, we merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it as if we had thought it up ourselves in a moment of brilliant inspiration
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
You know what it's like when two people start a conversation. First one of them does all the talking, the other breaks in with "That's just like me, I... " and goes on himself until his partner finds a chance to say, "That's just like me, I... "The "That's just like me, I... 's" may look like a form of agreement, a way of carrying the other party's idea a step further, but that is an illusion...
Abroad, she discovered that the transformation of music into noise was a planetary process by which mankind was entering the historical phase of total ugliness. The total ugliness to come had made itself felt first as omnipresent acoustical ugliness: cars, motorcycles, electric guitars, drills, loudspeakers, sirens. The omnipresence of visual ugliness would soon follow.
Leroy's reasoning is dry as a razor, and Chantal agrees: love as an exaltation of two individuals, love as fidelity, passionate attachment to a single person - no, that doesn't exist. And if it does exist, it is only as self-punishment, willful blindness, escape into a monastery. She tells herself that even if it does exist, love ought not to exist, and the idea does not maker her bitter, on the contrary, it produces a bliss that spreads throughout her body. She thinks of the metaphor of the rose that moves through all men and tells herself that she has been living locked away by love and now she is ready to obey the myth of the rose and merge with its giddy fragrance.
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.
I don't know whether my nation will perish and I don't know which of my characters is right. I invent stories, confront one with another, and by this means i ask questions. The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.
She shut her eyes: the sweet word "promiscuity" came to her mind and suffused her; she enunciated silently to herself: "promiscuity of ideas." How could such contradictory attitudes follow after one another in a single head like two mistresses in the same bed? In the past that nearly infuriated her, but today it entrances her: for she knows that the contract between what Leroy used to say and what he's professing today doesn't matter in the slightest. Because one idea is as good as another. Because all statements and positions carry the same value, can rub against one another, nestle, snuggle, fondle, mingle, diddle, cuddle, couple.