80 quotes from Milan Kundera (and their meanings)

Milan Kundera is an important Czech poet, playwright and novelist born in 1929. This important writer has lived in France since 1975, a country from which he adopted his nationality in 1987.

Milan Kundera’s life would give you enough to write a book about him: he was a jazz pianist, he was an activist in the Communist Party, he was persecuted by the Soviet regime and a myriad of adventures. During his career as a writer, he wrote works of great depth in the society of the time such as: The joke, The book of laughter and oblivion or The unbearable lightness of being. .

    Table of Contents

    Milan Kundera’s best famous quotes and quotes

    As readers, we should all have read some of his books at some point and if not, now is a good time to do so. Then, we present you 80 very interesting Milan Kundera phrasesSo you can know a little more about this writer.

    1. There is only one thing that separates us from jazz. Jazz is developing and changing rapidly.

    As in jazz, you have to know how to improvise easily.

    2. Jazz has a very peculiar melody, in which the original six-tone scale of the old black songs is evident. But also our popular song has its particular melody, tonic still much more varied.

    Jazz is a style of music that has its own peculiarities.

    3. It would be so easy to find calm in the world of the imagination. But I’ve always tried to live in both worlds at the same time and not give up on one because of the other.

    Our thoughts are largely a part of us, those of us who live in two worlds at the same time: the real and the imaginary.

    4. But Luther said in a letter: True love is generally unjust.

    Just because we love someone doesn’t mean that love is mutual.

    5. He aspires to the strength of the hunter who hunts a tiger and not to the fame of the tiger admired by those who will use it as a carpet at the foot of his bed.

    In life, our will is much more important than undeserved fame.

    6. There are so many more dead than living!

    Sadly, death is an inevitable moment in all of our lives.

    7. I found a beautiful proverb: true love is always right, even if it is unfair.

    No logic can beat love.

    8. This is not the faith I am talking about. These are images, ideas. I don’t know why I should get rid of it.

    Having faith in our ideas is something that can be very positive for us, we have to believe in it.

    9. Man must first of all have the courage to be himself.

    Indeed, we must know how to express ourselves in our whole being.

    10. He loved Bach because he always understood music as a transparent combination of independent voices, each of which can be recognized.

    The conception of music through the ideas of old masters is very different from the way jazz musicians understand it.

    11. The serial number of the human specimen is the face, that informal and irreplaceable grouping of characteristics. Neither the character, nor the soul, nor what we call the “I” are reflected in it. The face is just the number of the specimen.

    Beauty doesn’t dictate who we really are, we can look prettier or uglier, but it won’t affect our personality.

    12. Yes, the essence of all love is the child and it does not matter whether it was conceived or born. In the algebra of love, the child is the magic sign of the sum of two beings.

    The vital goal of every living thing in the end is simple: to reproduce.

    13. I am determined to love you forever.

    Love is a force that can live in us forever.

    14. Perhaps in exceptional circumstances we are aware of our age and most of the time we are not old.

    The age we have affects us only in certain aspects of our life, apart from them, the age we are is irrelevant.

    15. The meaning of poetry is not to dazzle us with a surprising idea, but to make a moment unforgettable and worthy of an unbearable nostalgia.

    Poetry can turn the most superfluous aspect of life into something worth remembering.

    16. He only became sexual for exceptional brief moments, when a moment of arousal radiated him with unreal artificial light and made him desirable and beautiful.

    The excitement of the moment can cause us to see a person differently than we see them in another situation of the day.

    17. I think, therefore I exist, is the commentary of an intellectual who underestimates toothache.

    As seen in this quote, Kundera mocks the work of the famous French philosopher René Descartes.

    18. What does it really mean to be useful? The sum of the utility of all people of all ages is fully contained in the world as it is today. From where it derives: nothing is more moral than to be useless.

    Today’s society has serious problems of morality and decadence.

    19. “I am not worthy of my suffering.” A beautiful sentence. It follows that suffering is not only the basis of the ego, its only incontestable ontological proof, but it is also of all feelings that it deserves the greatest respect: the value of all values.

    As sentient beings, of course, we sometimes suffer and that is why we deserve a certain moral respect.

    20. Imagine that you live in a world where there are no mirrors. You would dream of your face and imagine it as an outward reflection of what is within you. And then when you were forty, someone would put a mirror in front of you for the first time in your life. Imagine the fear! You would see a completely strange face. And you would clearly know what you cannot understand: your face is not you.

    This is because our physical appearance does not dictate who we really are, who we are only really decided by our daily actions.

    21. Culture succumbs to the volume of production, to the avalanche of letters, to the madness of quantity. This is why I tell you that a book banned in your country means infinitely more than the millions of words that our universities spew out.

    As a writer, Kundera was morally obligated to do quality work. In today’s consumer world, we should not be carried away by the desire to achieve material goods.

    22. Because everything in this world is forgiven in advance, and therefore everything cynically authorized.

    Not all deeds should be forgiven, we should know when something is not acceptable.

    23. But it is precisely the weak who must be strong and know how to walk when the strong are too weak to be able to hurt the weak.

    Those in life who are “weaker” should therefore strive more proportionately to prove themselves to be stronger.

    24. It is not necessity, but chance, which is full of charm. For love to be unforgettable, coincidences must fly to it from the first moment.

    Many times we fall in love with someone the result of a coincidence, that’s the beauty of love: we don’t decide who we fall in love with.

    25. The heaviest burden destroys us, we are overthrown, it crushes us against the earth. But in amateur poetry of all ages, the woman desires to support the weight of the man’s body. The heaviest burden is therefore at the same time the image of the most intense fullness of life. The heavier the load, the more our life will be anchored, the more real and true it will be.

    Life can be painful many times, but in the same way, it can also be very beautiful and intense.

    26. When she was little, her father taught her to play chess. He had been struck by a movement called castling: the player changes the position of two characters in a single play: he places the tower next to the king and moves the king to the corner, on the side of the square occupied by the tower. He had liked this gesture: the enemy concentrates all his efforts on the threat of the king, and the king suddenly disappears before his eyes; you are going to live elsewhere. She dreamed all her life of this movement and dreamed of it especially since she was tired.

    Castling is a move that allows us to escape and defend ourselves at the same time, a move we all want to make in more than one life situation.

    27. Despite my skepticism, I still have a bit of superstition. For example this strange belief that all life stories also have meaning, they mean something. This life, with its own history, says something about itself, that it reveals to us little by little some of its secrets, that it is before us like an enigma to be solved.

    Many of us believe in the figure of fate, in which there is something for which we are destined or born for it.

    28. People want to own the future just so they can change the past. They find it difficult to enter a laboratory where photographs are retouched and biographies and history are rewritten.

    In life, we struggle to define who we are, to teach everyone around us what we are capable of.

    29. Children are not the future because one day they have to grow up, but because humanity is getting closer and closer to the child, because childhood is the image of the future.

    Everything that humanity achieves in the future depends solely and exclusively on the children of today.

    30. Women are not looking for handsome men. Women are looking for men who have had beautiful women. This is why having an ugly lover is a fatal mistake.

    Both men and women seek beauty in our partner, because this beauty means to us that we are also beautiful to deserve it. Likewise, beauty is a subjective thing, each person has their own version of what beauty is.

    31. Loves are like empires: when the idea on which they were built disappears, they also die.

    Men and empires, the passage of the years wreaks havoc on them, undoubtedly leading them to their demise.

    32. The twilight of disappearance bathes everything with the magic of nostalgia.

    When something disappears from the world, its memory makes us miss it. Longing is always an emotion that comes too late.

    33. There is nothing heavier than understanding. Even the pain itself is not so heavy that the pain felt, by someone, by someone, multiplied by the imagination, extends into a thousand echoes.

    We are not all able to feel the pain of others, to have enough empathy for it.

    34. Love, by definition, is an undeserved gift.

    Love is something we don’t or don’t stop deserving, we just don’t have control over it.

    35. The true goodness of man can only be manifested with absolute cleanliness and freedom towards him who represents no strength.

    In fact, in order to be able to demonstrate our true goodness, we must exercise it on those who do us neither good nor bad.

    36. He erased her from the photograph of his life, not because he had not loved her, but precisely because he wanted her. He erased it with the love he felt for her.

    When we love someone and lose them, forgetting that person can be a daunting task.

    37. The wretch seeks consolation in the amalgamation of his sorrow with the sorrow of another.

    We should not rejoice in the sorrows of others to alleviate our own, as the saying goes: harm to others, consolation to fools.

    38. Eroticism is like dancing: one part of the couple is always in charge of managing the other.

    With our way of acting and our actions, we can predispose a reaction in our partner, whether in the sexual domain or in any other.

    39. I dare say that there is no real eroticism without the art of ambiguity; the more powerful the ambiguity, the more intense the excitement.

    Eroticism is the art of arousing in the other a certain sexual desire, starting from an initial ambiguity.

    40. Arousal is the foundation of eroticism, its deepest enigma, its key word.

    When we are excited, our actions and thoughts are successful or perhaps as a result of that emotion.

    41. Happiness is the desire for repetition.

    When we are happy to have an experience, we always want to repeat it.

    42. Love is not manifested in the desire to sleep with someone, but in the desire to sleep next to someone.

    As this quote aptly says, sleeping with someone is one thing and sleeping with that person is another.

    43. The real proof of humanity’s morality, the deepest (located at such a depth that it escapes our perception), lies in its relationship to those who are at its mercy: the animals.

    Animals are living beings who feel, and therefore deserve our affection and respect.

    44. Longing for paradise is man’s desire not to be man.

    Heaven is an impossible utopian idea, but that is why it is so attractive.

    45. I write for the pleasure of contradicting and for the happiness of being alone against everyone.

    No doubt Kundera was aware of her unique personality and at times perhaps felt a little out of touch with society.

    46. ​​Man can never know what to want, for he leads a life on his own and has no way of comparing it to his previous lives or changing it in his later lives. There is no way to check which of the decisions is the best, because there is no comparison. Man lives first of all and without preparation. As if an actor were performing his play without any rehearsal. But what value can life have if the first attempt to live is already life itself?

    We learn what we want to achieve and how we should achieve it, over time and as a result of experiencing the situations we go through.

    47. He who seeks the infinite, let him close his eyes.

    We all have an inner world that can be as rich as our imagination allows.

    48. The struggle of human beings against power is the struggle of memory against oblivion.

    In order not to fall into the same mistakes, we must remember where we came from.

    49. All great novels, real novels, are bisexual.

    All types of sexuality should be respected in the same way, today’s society is still fighting for sexual freedoms.

    50. Coquetry is an unsecured sexual proposition.

    A very curious way to understand this attitude, have you ever thought of the same?

    51. Life is the memory of the people, the collective consciousness of historical continuity, the way of thinking and of living.

    Indeed, “real life” is the result of the sum of our way of living and our way of thinking.

    52. Speed ​​is the form of ecstasy that the technical revolution has given to man.

    Technologically, human civilization is advancing constantly, and it is doing so at an ever faster rate.

    53. In such a world where everything is explained, the most easily accessible weapon and at the same time the most deadly is dissemination.

    We can do a lot of harm to someone by spreading their ideas and thoughts.

    54. Without knowing it, man composes his life according to the laws of beauty, even in moments of the deepest despair.

    Unfortunately, a lot of us get carried away by appearances, which we should definitely change in society.

    55. He despises literature in which the authors betray all their intimacies and those of their friends. The person who loses their privacy loses everything.

    We need to know what we can count on and what not to do, our more personal problems should not be broadcast.

    56. Solitude: a sweet absence of glances.

    Loneliness is something no one wants for themselves.

    57. Everything depends on the fact that man is as he is, that he is not ashamed to want what he wants and to want what he wants. People are generally slaves to ordinances.

    Being consistent with ourselves will allow us to achieve our vital goals.

    58. All the fundamental situations of life have no return. For man to be man he must cross the impossibility of returning to full consciousness.

    Okay, we move on in life, we let go of bad attitudes and ways of thinking.

    59. Man can pretend that a woman does anything, but if he does not want to behave like a savage, he must allow her to act according to his deepest fictions.

    As men, we must always act honestly, whether with women or with other men.

    60. He always lived in two worlds simultaneously. He had believed in their mutual harmony. It was a hoax. He had now been kicked out of one of those worlds. From the real world. I can only imagine.

    We have to know how to live in the society we are in, thoughts can be very important but they don’t have to be 100% of our life.

    61. In front of her, I could allow everything: sincerity, feeling and pathos

    The person who truly loves us will do it completely, with our strengths and weaknesses.

    62. I understood that I could not run away from my memories; who was surrounded by them.

    Memories are a fundamental part of us and will accompany us throughout life.

    63. He generally speaks of love at first sight; I know perfectly well that love tends to make itself a legend and to retrospectively mythologize its beginnings; So I don’t mean to say it was such a sudden love; but what there was was a certain clairvoyance: the essence of Lucie’s being – or to be more precise – the essence of what Lucie later became for me, I understood her, I understood her. felt, I saw her immediately and immediately; Lucie took me to herself as people are told revealed truths.

    Some people fell in love at first sight and Milan Kundera is one of those people.

    64. The supporters of joy are often the saddest.

    We all want to feel joy in our lives, but sometimes we can be elusive.

    65. Optimism is the opium of the people! His mind stinks of idiocy. Long live Trotsky! Ludvik.

    Milan Kundera was not a big fan of Lev Trotsky’s ideas.

    66. Because living in a world where nothing is forgiven, where no one can be redeemed, is like living in hell.

    Forgiveness is something we can achieve, but it will depend on the steps we have taken before.

    67. He did not have, like the hypocrites, a true face and false faces. He had many faces because he was young and I didn’t know who he was and who he wanted to be.

    When we have failed to develop ourselves as people, we tend to flirt with various attitudes to find the one that we feel most comfortable with.

    68. This time he added new ideas to his speech: the class enemy had succeeded in directly penetrating the Communist Party; But spies and traitors had to know that masked enemies would receive a hundred times worse treatment than those who did not hide their opinions, for the masked enemy is a mangy dog.

    We certainly need to be consistent with our own ideas, as they largely determine who we really are.

    69. Being mortal is the most essential human experience and yet man has never been able to accept it, understand it and behave according to it. Man does not know how to be mortal. And when he dies, he doesn’t even know he’s dead.

    Often we are not fully aware of the risks we run, we go through life believing ourselves to be immortal.

    70. How to live in a world with which we do not agree? How to live with people if one does not consider their sorrows or their joys as theirs? If you know you’re not one of them.

    To be completely happy we have to find our place in the world, for that we have to know what we want out of life and how we will get there.

    71. Because it is the only real life for me: to live in the minds of others. Otherwise, I’m dead alive.

    We would all like to know what other people think, it is a very common thought among all men and women.

    72. Love or convent: two ways in which man can reject the divine computer, two ways of escaping it.

    A very curious way of understanding life, in the end we all want to escape in one way or another.

    73. To live, there is no happiness in this. Live: bring your sad self to the world. But to be, to be is happiness. To be: to become a source, a stone vessel on which the universe falls like hot rain.

    To be happy, we have to know how to represent our best version and show it to the world.

    74. Life is a conditioned value for you, which is only justified because it allows you to live your love. The one you love is for you more than divine creation, more than life.

    Love is a very powerful force, which can limit or greatly improve our actions in life.

    75. Man is only his image. Philosophers can tell us that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of us, that it is only as good as who we are. But the philosophers do not understand anything. As we live with people, we are nothing more than what people think we are.

    Society is largely governed by the image we have shown it, our image will allow us to receive better attitudes from others towards us.

    76. Thinking about how others see us and trying to make our image as likeable as possible is considered some sort of wandering or cheating game. But maybe there is a direct relationship between my “I” and theirs without the mediation of the eyes?

    The pre-established canons of beauty give us in a “simple” way an explanation of what others want to observe.

    77. Unfortunately, we miss Descartes. It is an unforgivable flaw in our history. Germany has no tradition of reason and clarity, it is full of metaphysical mists and Wagnerian music and we all know who Wagner’s greatest admirer was: Hitler!

    In this quote, Kundera is currently making accusations against the German company, which has caused great emotional grief to the writer himself.

    78. The basis of modesty is not our mistake, but the shame, the humiliation we feel at having to be who we are without having chosen it, and the unbearable feeling that this humiliation is seen everywhere.

    We have to be grateful to who we are and what we represent in society, to achieve happiness we have to accept ourselves first.

    79. I cannot hate them because nothing unites me to them; I have nothing to do with them.

    We cannot hate what we don’t know, hatred is a very visceral emotion that comes from the previous grievance suffered by us.

    80. The danger of hatred is that it binds us to the adversary in a tight embrace.

    Indeed, when we enter a spiral of hate, we always find ourselves embroiled in situations with this person that we hate so much.

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