30+ quotes from Immortality by Milan Kundera

Quotes from Immortality

Milan Kundera ·  400 pages

Rating: (24.8K votes)


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 egocentrism.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“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, quote from Immortality


“I have a strong will to love you for eternity.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“I cannot hate them because nothing binds me to them; I have nothing in common with them.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“أنا أفكر, إذن أنا موجود, ذلك قولُ مثقفٍ يُسيء تقدير قيمة ألم الإنسان. أنا أحس, إذن أنا موجود, تلك حقيقة لها قوة أكثر عمومية بكثير و تخص كل كــائن حي. لا تتميز أنـاي عن أناكم بالفكر بشكل أساسي. هنـاك بشر كثيرون و أفكار قليلة. إننا إذ ننقل أفكارنا أو نقتبسها أو يسرقها أحدنا من الآخر, نفكر جميعنا بالشيء نفسه تقريبا. أما حين يدوس شخص ما فوق قدمي, فأنا وحدي من يحس بالألم. ليس الفكر هو أساس الأنا, بل الألم, أكثر الأحاسيس أولويةً.
في الألم لا يمكن للقطة أن تشك بأناها الفريدة و غير القابلة للتبديل. عندما يصبح الألم حادا, يتلاشى العالمُ و يبقى كل منّا وحيداً مع نفسه. الألم هــو المدرسة الكبرى للأنانية”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“To be mortal is the most basic human experience, and yet man has never been able to accept it, grasp it, and behave accordingly. Man doesn't know how to be mortal. And when he dies, he doesn't even know how to be dead.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“The purpose of the poetry is not to dazzle us with an astonishing thought, but to make one moment of existence unforgettable and worthy of unbearable nostalgia.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“Living, there is no happiness in that. Living: carrying one’s painful self through the world.
But being, being is happiness. Being: Becoming a fountain, a fountain on which the universe falls like warm rain.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“Hate traps us by binding us too tightly to our adversary.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“A person is nothing but his image. Philosophers can tell us that it doesn't matter what the world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don't understand anything. As long as we live with other people, we are only what other people consider us to be. Thinking about how others see us and trying to make our image as attractive as possible is considered a kind of dissembling or cheating. But does there exist another kind of direct contact between my self and their selves except through the mediation of the eyes? Can we possibly imagine love without anxiously following our image in the mind of the beloved? When we are no longer interested in how we are seen by the person we love, it means we no longer love.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“إما أن تصبح المرأة مستقبل الرجل أو ينتهي أمر الانسانية لأن المرأة وحده تستطيع ان تحتفظ في داخلها بامل لا يبرره شيء , وتدعونا الى مستقبل مشكوك فيه كنا سنكف عن الايمان به منذ زمن طويل بدون نساء . بقيت طوال حياتي مستعدا لتتبع صوتهن حتى لو كان صوتا مجنونا , في حين أني قد أكون أي شيء إلا مجنونا . لا يوجد ما هو أجمل من الانقياد نحو المجهول لصوتٍ مجنون لمن ليس مجنونا. عندها ردد بفخامة الكلمات الالمانية " تقودنا الأنثى الخالدة نحو الأعلى ”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“I think, therefore I am' is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“Man reckons with immortality, and forgets to reckon with death.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“يفقد العالم شفافيته شيئاً فشيئاً، يصبح كتيماً وعصياً على الفهم، يهوى في المجهول، بينما يهرب الإنسان الذي خانه العالم، إلى داخل نفسه، إلى حنينه، إلى أحلامه، إلى ثورته، فلا يعود بإمكانه سماع الأصوات التي تسائله من الخارج بعد أن أصَمَّهُ الصوتُ الأليم الذي يرتفع في داخله”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“The serial number of a human specimen is the face, that accidental and unrepeatable combination of features. It reflects neither character nor soul, nor what we call the self. The face is only the serial number of a specimen”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“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, quote from Immortality


“جميعنا في جزء ما من أنفسنا نعيش وراء الزمن, ربما أننا لا نَعي عمرَنا إلا في لحظات استثنائية, وأننا معظم الوقت أشخاص بلا أعمار”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“اسمُ عائلتنا أيضا, هو يُقسَم لنا بالمصادفة, دون أن نعرف متى ظهر في العالم, ولا كيف التَقَطَهُ أحد الأجداد المجهولين. إننا لانفهم هذا الاسمَ مطلقاً, ولا نعرف شيئاً عن تاريخه, ومع ذلك نحمله بإخلاص مُمَجّد, نتوحّد به ويروق لنا جداً, ونفخر به بشكل يدعو للسخرية كما لو أننا نحن الذين ابتدعناه تحت تأثير إلهام عبقري”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“إنه لتوفيق هائل أن الحروب خاضها الرجال . لو أن النساء خضن الحروب , فسوف يكن مبدئيات في قسوتهن بحيث لا يبقى أي كائن إنساني على الكوكب .”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“Yes, the essence of every love is a child, and it makes no difference at all whether it has ever actually been conceived or born. In the algebra of love a child is the symbol of the magical sum of two beings.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“She blushed. It is a beautiful thing when a woman blushes; at that instant her body no longer belongs to her; she doesn't control it; she is at its mercy; oh, can there be anything more beautiful than the sight of a woman violated by her own body!”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“But then he told himself: What does it really mean to be useful? Today's world, just as it is, contains the sum of the utility of all people of all times. Which implies: The highest morality consists in being useless.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“I am not worthy of my suffering. A great sentence. It suggests not only that suffering is the basis of the self, its sole indubitable ontological proof, but also that it is the one feeling most worthy of respect; the value of all values.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“تخيل أنك عشت في عالم ليس فيه مرايا. كنت ستحلم بوجهك، كنت ستتخيله كنوع من الانعكاس الخارجي لما هو داخلك. بعد ذلك، افرض أنهم وضعوا أمامك مرآة وأنت في الأربعين من عمرك. تخيل جزعك. كنت سترى وجهاً غريباً تماماً. وكنت ستفهم بصورة جلية ما ترفض الإقرار به: وجهك ليس أنتَ”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“تنشأ العاطفة بداخلنا فى غفلة منّا وغالبًا ما يكون ذلك ضد إرادتنا. وبمجرد أن نتعمّد الاحساس بها لا تعود العاطفة عاطفة ، بل تتحول إلى محاكاة عاطفة ، وإلى استعراض لها.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“A person is nothing but his image. Philosophers can tell us that it doesn't matter what the world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don't understand anything. As long as we live with other people, we are only what other people consider us to be. Thinkingabout how others see us and trying to make our image as attractive as possible is considered a kind of dissembling or cheating. But doesthere exist another kind of direct contact between my self and their selves except through the mediation of the eyes? Can we possiblyimagine love without anxiously following our image in the mind of the beloved? When we are no longer interested in how we are seen bythe person we love, it means we no longer love.”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“If we cannot accept the importance of the world, which considers itself important, if in the midst of that world our laughter finds no echo, we have but one choice: to take the world as a whole and make it the object of our game; to turn it into a toy”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


“A gesture cannot be regarded as the expression of an individual, as his creation (because no individual is capable of creating a fully original gesture, belonging to nobody else), nor can it even be regarded as that person's instrument; on the contrary, it is gestures that use us as their instruments, as their bearers and incarnations”
― Milan Kundera, quote from Immortality


About the author

Milan Kundera
Born place: in Brno, Czech Republic
Born date April 1, 1929
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