Top 30 Milan Kundera Quotes Of All Time

Milan Kundera Quotes

“…no one can do a thing about feelings, they exist and there’s no way to censor them. We can reproach ourselves for some action, for a remark, but not for a feeling, quite simply because we have no control at all over it.”

― Milan Kundera

“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which is deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”

― Milan Kundera

“The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by a man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse.”

― Milan Kundera

“Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.”

― Milan Kundera

“Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and your decision persists by the power of inertia. Every year it gets harder to change.”

― Milan Kundera

“Happiness is the longing for repetition.”

― Milan Kundera

“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.”

Milan Kundera

“For Sabina, living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful. Having a public, keeping a public in mind, means living in lies.”

― Milan Kundera

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

― Milan Kundera

“Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You’d dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You’d see the face of a stranger. And you’d know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.”

― Milan Kundera

“The greater the ambiguity, the greater the pleasure.”

― Milan Kundera

“To rebel against being born a woman seemed as foolish to her as to take pride in it.”

― Milan Kundera

“Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”

― Milan Kundera

“It takes so little, so infinitely little, for a person to cross the border beyond which everything loses meaning: love, convictions, faith, history. Human life — and herein lies its secret — takes place in the immediate proximity of that border, even in direct contact with it; it is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch.”

― Milan Kundera

“He was well aware that of the two of three thousand times he had made love (how many times had he made love in his life?) only two or three were really essential and unforgettable. The rest were mere echoes, imitations, repetitions, or reminiscences.”

― Milan Kundera

“But isn’t it true that an author can write only about himself?”

― Milan Kundera

“The girl was grateful to the young man for every bit of flattery; she wanted to linger for a moment in its warmth and so she said, ‘You’re very good at lying.’

‘Do I look like a liar?’

‘You look like you enjoy lying to women,’ said the girl, and into her words there crept unawares a touch of the old anxiety, because she really did believe that her young man enjoyed lying to women.”

― Milan Kundera

“I have a strong will to love you for eternity.”

― Milan Kundera

“Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.”

― Milan Kundera

“Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding.”

― Milan Kundera

“Yes, suddenly I saw it clearly: most people deceive themselves with a pair of faiths: they believe in eternal memory (of people, things, deeds, nations) and in redressibility (of deeds, mistakes, sins, wrongs). Both are false faiths. In reality the opposite is true: everything will be forgotten and nothing will be redressed. The task of obtaining redress (by vengeance or by forgiveness) will be taken over by forgetting. No one will redress the wrongs that have been done, but all wrongs will be forgotten.”

― Milan Kundera

“Jealousy isn’t a pleasant quality, but if it isn’t overdone (and if it’s combined with modesty), apart from its inconvenience there’s even something touching about it.”

― Milan Kundera

“There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting.

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

“Being in a foreign country means walking a tightrope high above the ground without the net afforded a person by the country where he has his family, colleagues, and friends, and where he can easily say what he has to say in a language he has known from childhood.”

― Milan Kundera

“It does take great maturity to understand that the opinion we are arguing for is merely the hypothesis we favor, necessarily imperfect, probably transitory, which only very limited minds can declare to be a certainty or a truth.”

― Milan Kundera

“I have no mission. No one has.”

― Milan Kundera

“The emotion of love gives all of us a misleading illusion of knowing the other.”

― Milan Kundera

“We all reject out of hand the idea that the love of our life may be something light or weightless; we presume our love is what must be, that without it our life would no longer be the same; we feel that Beethoven himself, gloomy and awe-inspiring, is playing the

“Es muss sein!”

to our own great love.”

― Milan Kundera

“A mismatched outfit, a slightly defective denture, an exquisite mediocrity of the soul-those are the details that make a woman real, alive. The women you see on posters or in fashion magazines-the ones all the women try to imitate nowadays-how can they be attractive? They have no reality of their own; they’re just the sum of a set of abstract rules. They aren’t born of human bodies; they hatch ready-made from the computers.” ~The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”

― Milan Kundera

“Every love relationship rests on an unwritten agreement unthinkingly concluded by the lovers in the first weeks of their love. They are still in a kind of dream but at the same time, without knowing it, are drawing up, like uncompromising lawyers, the detailed clauses of their contract. O lovers! Be careful in those dangerous first days! Once you’ve brought breakfast in bed you’ll have to bring it forever, unless you want to be accused of lovelessness and betrayal.”

― Milan Kundera

Add Comment