milan kundera

A person who messes up her goodbyes shouldn’t expect much from her reunions.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

All predictions are wrong, that’s one of the few certainties granted to mankind.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

If in the past people would listen to music out of love for music, nowadays it roars everywhere and all the time, “regardless whether we want to hear it”, it roars from loudspeakers, in cars, in restaurants, in elevators, in the streets, in waiting rooms, in gyms, in the earpieces of Walkmans, music rewritten, reorchestrated, abridged, and stretched out, fragments of rock, of jazz, of opera, a flood of everything jumbled together so that we don’t know who composed it (music become noise is anonymous), so that we can’t tell beginning from end (music become noise has no form): sewage-water music in which music is dying.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

Isn’t beer the holy libation of sincerity? The potion that dispels all hypocrisy, any charade of fine manners? The drink that does nothing worse than incite its fans to urinate in all innocence, to gain weight in all frankness?

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

Now time has a very different look; it is no longer the conquering present capturing the future; it is the present conquered and captured and carried off by the past.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn’t count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won’t understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

And there lies the horror: the past we remember is devoid of time. Impossible to reexperience a love the way we reread a book or resee a film.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

When she is older she will see in these resemblances a regrettable uniformity among individuals (they all stop at the same spots to kiss, have the same tastes in clothing, flatter a woman with the same metaphor) and a tedious monotony among events (they are all just an endless repetition of the same one); but in her adolescence she welcomes these coincidences as miraculous and she is avid to decipher their meanings.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

Man can only be certain about the present moment. But is that quite true either? Can he really know the present? Is he in a position to make any judgment about it? Certainly not. For how can a person with no knowledge of the future understand the meaning of the present? If we do not know what future the present is leading us toward, how can we say whether this present is good or bad, whether it deserves our concurrence, or our suspicion, or our hatred?

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

The more vast the amount of time we’ve left behind us, the more irresistible is the voice calling us to return to it.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

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