“i used to admire believers”, tomas continued. “i thought they had an odd transcendental way of perceiving things which was closed to me. like clairvoyants, you might say.”
“it is completely selfless love: tereza did not want anything of karenin; she did not ever ask him to love her back. nor has she ever asked herself the questions that plague human couples: does he love me? does he love anybody more than me? does he love me more than i love him? 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 yearn to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.”
“what about the country…we’d be alone there. the people there are different. and we’d be getting back to nature. nature is the same as it always was.”
“missions are stupid, tereza. i have no mission, no one has. and it’s a a terrific relief to realize you’re free, free of all missions.”
“we all need someone to look at us. we can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under:”
“the second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. they are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners.”
“then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love.”
and finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. they are the dreamers.”
click on images for sources.
i really enjoyed reading this book – i think kundera has a beautiful way with words and some great insight into the human pursuit of happiness and that ever elusive “lightness.” those of you who read it, what did you think?