““…As if it were an ostinato providing the bass accompaniment to a musical composition, she kept silently repeating to the rhythm of her motion: I will fight, I will fight, I will fight, and she was sure that she would win.
Just open any dictionary. To fight means to set one’s will against the will of another, with the aim of defeating the opponent, to bring him to his knees, possibly to kill him. “Life is a battle” is a proposition that must at first have expressed melancholy and resignation. But our century of optimism and massacres has succeeded in making this terrible sentence sound like a joyous refrain. You will say that to fight against somebody may be terrible, but to fight for something is noble and beautiful. Yes, it is beautiful to strive for happiness (or love, or justice and so on), but if you are in the habit of designating your striving with the word “fight”, it means that your noble striving conceals the longing to knock someone on the ground. The fight for is always connected with the fight against, and the preposition “for” is always forgotten in the course of the fight in favor of the preposition “against””
— "Immortality",(1990), Milan Kundera,
“Inexperience is a quality of the human condition. We are born one time only; we can never start a new life equipped with the experience we’ve gained from a previous one. We leave childhood without knowing what youth is; we marry without knowing what it is to be married; and even when we enter old age, we don’t know what it is we’re heading for: The old are innocent children of their old age. In that sense, man’s world is the planet of inexperience.”
— Milan Kundera

The dreams are eloquent, but they are also beautiful. That aspect seems to have escaped Freud in his theory of dreams. 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.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, p59, Milan Kundera, 1 April 1929

(via lalune11)

“As you live out your desolation, you can be either unhappy or happy. Having that choice is what constitutes your freedom.”
— Milan Kundera (via suzywire)

I think, therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.

I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that’s alive.

My self does not differ substantially from yours in terms of its thought.

Many people, few ideas: we all think more or less the same, and we exchange, borrow, steal thoughts from one another. However, when someone steps on my foot, only I feel the pain.

The basis of the self is not thought but suffering, which is the most fundamental of all feelings.

While it suffers, not even a cat can doubt its unique and uninterchangeable self.

In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self.

Suffering is the university of ego-centrism.

— Milan Kundera (Immortality)

(via lesgroper)

“There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting. Consider this utterly commonplace situation: a man is walking down the street. At a certain moment, he tries to recall something, but the recollection escapes him. Automatically he slows down. Meanwhile, a person who wants to forget a disagreeable incident he has just lived through starts unconsciously to speed up his pace, as if he were trying to distance himself from a thing still too close to him in time. In existential mathematics, that experience takes the form of two basic equations: the degree of slowness is directly proportional to the intensity of memory; the degree of speed is directly proportional to the intensity of forgetting.”
— Milan Kundera, Slowness (via thought-emancipation)
“Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which things appear other than as we know them: they appear without the mitigating circumstance of their transitory nature. This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit? In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.”
— Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (via wordshalfspoken)
“Challenging Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence (the universe and its events have already occurred and will recur ad infinitum), the story’s thematic meditations posit the alternative that each person has only one life to live, and that which occurs in that life, occurs only once and shall never occur again — thus the “lightness” of being; whereas eternal recurrence imposes a “heaviness” on our lives and on the decisions we make (it gives them weight, to borrow from Nietzsche’s metaphor), a heaviness that Nietzsche thought could be either a tremendous burden or great benefit depending on one’s perspective.
The German expression Einmal ist keinmal encapsulates “lightness” so: “what happens but once, might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all”; if concluded logically, life ultimately is insignificant. Hence, because decisions do not matter, they are rendered light, because they do not cause personal suffering. Yet, simultaneously, the insignificance of decisions — our being — causes us great suffering, perceived as the unbearable lightness of being consequent to one’s awareness of life occurring once and never again; thus no one person’s actions are universally significant. This insignificance is existentially unbearable when it is considered that people want their lives to have transcendent meanin”
— excerpt from the Wikipedia article on The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (via dern)