tomorrow i will release The Unbearable Lightness of Being into the wild of bookcrossing...i am almost hesitant to do so. there are places within its pages i may want to revisit. here are some of those lines...
The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.
In other words, she was pounding on the gate of his poetic memory. But the gate was shut. There was no room for her in his poetic memory. There was room for her only on the rug.
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.
I have said before that metaphors are dangerous. Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.
And at some point, he realized to his great surprise that he was not particularly unhappy. Sabina's physical presence was much less important than he had suspected. What was important was the golden footprint, the magic footprint she had left on his life and no one could ever remove.
Anyone who thinks the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals is overlooking a basic truth: the criminal regimes were made not be criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise. They defended that road so valiantly that they were forced to execute many people. Later it became clear that there was no paradise, that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers.
He suddenly recalled the famous myth from Plato's Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.
They are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurance (Beethoven's music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual's life. Anna could have chosen another way to take her life. But the motif of death and the railway station, unforgettably bound to the birth of love, enticed her in her hour of despair with its dark beauty. Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
We can never establish with certainty what part of our relationships with others is the results of our emotions - love, antipathy, charity, or malice - and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals.
True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power.
Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe, and save it have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearned to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.
The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighted down by the man's body. 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.
Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.
What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?
Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).
"The important thing is to abide by the rule of threes. Either you see a woman three times in quick succession and then never again, or you maintain relations over the years but make sure that the rendezvous are at least three weeks apart."
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.
....Sabina was charmed more by betrayal than by fidelity.
Betrayal means breaking ranks. Betrayal means breaking ranks and going off into the unknown. Sabina knew of nothing more magnificent than going off into the unknown.
Yes, it was too late and Sabina knew she would have to leave Paris, move on, and on again, because were she to die here they would cover her up with a stone, and in the mind of a woman for whom no place is home the thought of an end to all flight is unbearable.
When we want to give expression to a dramatic situation in our lives, we tend to use metaphors of heaviness. We say that something has become a great burden to us. We either bear the burden or fail and go down with it, we struggle with it, win or lose. And Sabina What had come over her? Nothing. She had left a man because she felt like leaving him. Had he persecuted her? Had he tried to take revenge on her? No. Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being.
Franz would never give Sabina orders. He would never command her, as Tomas had, to lay the mirror on the floor and walk back and forth on it naked. Not that he lacks sensuality; he simply lacks the strength to give orders. There are things that can be accomplished only by violence. Physical love is unthinkable without violence...What if she had a man who ordered her about? A man who wanted to master her? How long would she put up with him? Not five minutes! From which it follows that no man was right for her. Strong or weak.
Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
Tomas thought: Attaching love to sex is one of the most bizarre ideas the Creator ever had.
Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.
The novel is not the author's confession; it is an investigation of human life in the trap the world has become.