the unbearable lightness of being – final post

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“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.”

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“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.”

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“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:”

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“the first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public. that is the case with the german singer, the american actress.”

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“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.”

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“then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love.”

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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?

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Comments

Jasmine -November 8, 2010, 6:25PM

m, I enjoyed this post(:
I haven’t read it actually, but I will,soon. Thanx love.

nicole -November 9, 2010, 11:49AM

read this book a few years ago but loved following along with your quotes and apt images. what’s the next book?

Sasha -November 9, 2010, 2:35PM

Loved this book. I especially loved the final chapter and how he discussed animals, how they are treated. Ethics. Love. I enjoyed the insight Kundera has. Try reading “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”, also amazing.

fp julia -November 9, 2010, 2:38PM

nicole – we haven’t decided yet but i’ll post it as soon as we do!
sasha – me too! the last chapter brought me to tears. thanks for the recommendation :)

brittany -November 9, 2010, 5:38PM

i love gracie slick. that shot from woodstock is one of my favorites. i read the book along with you and i feel like it’s one of those books that change your perspective on life. i even suggested it to my yoga class…passing down the torch.

Britt -November 15, 2010, 4:52PM

Just finished the book in two sittings, absolutely loved it. So many memorable quotes and the story telling was incredible. I, too, had a deep appreciation for the chapter on animals. Kundera took the words right out of my mouth. The last chapter also had me crying! Thank you so much for recommeding this book, I look forward to what you suggest next!!

Catalina -November 19, 2010, 7:16AM

the film is wonderful as well :)

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