Milan Kundera died earlier this month, July 11, 2023 at the age of 94. Kundera is a Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist, and poet whose works combine erotic comedy with political criticism and philosophical speculation. His best-known work is The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
By George selects some of our favourite bons mots from this insightful and provocative author. R.I.P. Milan Kundera.
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.
There is no perfection only life.
Optimism is the opium of the people.
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.
You can’t measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.
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 sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness.
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.
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. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, “sketch” is not quite a word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.
To be a writer does not mean to preach a truth, it means to discover a truth.
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.