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Type: Writer
Nationality: Czechoslovakian
Date of Birth: 04/01/1929


 

Milan Kundera Quotes > The light that radiates from...

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The light that radiates from the great novels time can never dim, for human existence is perpetually being forgotten by man and thus the novelists discoveries, however old they may be, will never cease to astonish.
Milan Kundera

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Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk. It is as when a conflagration has broken out in a great city, and no man knows what is safe, or where it will end. There is not a piece of science, but its flank may be turned to-morrow; there is not any literary reputation, not the so-called eternal names of fame, that may not be revised and condemned. The very hopes of man, the thoughts of his heart, the religion of nations, the manners and morals of mankind, are all at the mercy of a new generalization. Generalization is always a new influx of the divinity into the mind. Hence the thrill that attends it.
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In imitating the exemplary acts of a God or of a mythic hero, or simply by recounting their adventures, the man of an archaic societydetaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.
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Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.
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The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
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Where is that man who has forgotten words that I may have a word with him?
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When a great change is effected in human affairs it brings on by degrees a corresponding change in human conceptions. After the discovery of the Indies and of America, after the invention of printing and the multiplication of books, after the restoration of classic antiquity and the Reformation of Luther, any conception of the world then formed could no longer remain monastic and mystic.
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There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.
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The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.
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Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
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The man whose action habitually bears the stamp of his mind is a genius, but the greatest genius is not always equal to himself, or he would cease to be human.
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The indestructible is one: it is each individual human being and, at the same time, it is common to all, hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings.
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One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.
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Give me a young man in whom there is something of the old, and an old man with something of the young: guided so, a man may grow old in body, but never in mind.
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All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence.
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As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.
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For a novelist, a given historic situation is an anthropologic laboratory in which he explores his basic question: What is human existence?
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Similarly, many a young man, hearing for the first time of the refraction of stellar light, has thought that doubt was cast on the whole of astronomy, whereas nothing is required but an easily effected and unimportant correction to put everything right again.
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Then not only an old man, but also a drunkard, becomes a second time a child.
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If there existed no external means for dimming their consciences, one-half of the men would at once shoot themselves, because to live contrary to one's reason is a most intolerable state, and all men of our time are in such a state.
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I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
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Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.
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You must become an old man in good time if you wish to be an old man long.
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The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace... a representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and, through cooperation, his ability to find greatness.
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No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.
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Never can the innate power of a work be hidden or locked away. A work of art can be forgotten by time; it can be forbidden and rejected but the elemental will always prevail over the ephemeral.
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