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jueves, 26 de junio de 2014

15 fragments by Milan Kundera, The Unbearable lightness of Being (II)




1.
The unwritten contract of erotic friendship stipulated that Tomas should exclude all love from his life. The moment he violated that clause of the contract, his other mistresses would assume inferior status and become ripe for insurrection.


2.
… spending the night together was the corpus delicti of love.


3.
He never spent the night with the others. It was easy enough if he was at their place: he could leave whenever he pleased. It was worse when they were at his and he had to explain that come midnight he would have to drive them home because he was an insomniac and found it impossible to fall asleep in close proximity to another person. Though it was not far from the truth, he never dared to tell them the whole truth: after making love he had an uncontrollable craving to be by himself; waking in the middle of the night at the side of an alien body was distasteful to him, rising in the morning with an intruder repellent; he had no desire to be overheard brushing his teeth in the bathroom, nor was he enticed by the thought of an intimate breakfast.


4.
Lying there looking at her, he could not quite understand what had happened. But as he ran through the previous few hours in his mind, he began to sense an aura of hitherto unknown happiness emanating from them.
From that time on they both looked forward to sleeping together. I might even say that the goal of their lovemaking was not so much pleasure as the sleep that followed.


5.
Lying in a hearse as big as a furniture van, she was surrounded by dead women. There were so many of them that the back door would not close and several legs dangled out.
‘But I’m not dead!’ Tereza cried. ‘I can still feel!’
‘So can we,’ the corpses laughed.


6.
To love someone out of compassion means not really to love.


7.
Looking back on the years he had spent with her, he came to feel that their story could have had no better ending. If someone had invented the story, this is how he would have had to end it.
One day Tereza came to him uninvited. One day she left the same way. She came with a heavy suitcase. She left with a heavy suitcase.


8.
His love for Tereza was beautiful, but it was also tiring: he had constantly had to hide things from her, sham, dissemble, make amends, buck her up, calm her down, give her evidence of his feelings, play the defendant to her jealousy, her suffering, and her dreams, feel guilty, make excuses and apologies. Now what was tiring had disappeared and only the beauty remained.


9.
On Saturday and Sunday, he felt the sweet lightness of being rise up to him out of the depths of the future. On Monday, he was hit by the weight the likes of which he had never known. The tons of steel of the Russian tanks were nothing compared with it. For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels, with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
He kept warning himself not to give in to compassion, and compassion listened with bowed head and a seemingly guilty conscience.


10.
When we ignore the body, we are more easily victimized by it.


11.
She took after her mother, and not only physically. I sometimes have the feeling that her entire life was merely a continuation of her mother’s, much as the course of a ball on the billiard table is merely the continuation of the player’s arm movement.
Where and when did it begin, the movement that later turned into Tereza’s life?


12.
Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us.

[…]
Necessity knows no magic formulae – they are all left to chance, if love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi’s shoulders.


13.
Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the law of beauty even in time of greatest distress.


14.
Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect some day to suffer vertigo.  What is vertigo? Fear of falling? Then why do we feel it even when the observation tower comes equipped with a sturdy handrail? No, vertigo is something other than the 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.



15.
She was on the grip of an insuperable longing to fall. She lived in a constant state of vertigo.
‘Pick me up’, is the message of a person who keeps falling. Tomas kept picking her up, patiently.


-Milan Kundera

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