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Milan Kundera

“I know, brother, that you are a straightforward man, and that you pride yourself on it. But put one question to yourself: why in fact should one tell the truth? What obliges us to do it? And why do we consider telling the truth a virtue? Imagine that you meet a madman, who claims that he is a fish and that we are all fish. Are you going to argue with him? Are you going to undress in front of him and show him that you don't have fins? Are you going to say to his face what you think? Well, tell me!'

His brother was silent and Edward went on: 'If you told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth, only what you really thought, you would enter into a serious conversation with a madman and you yourself would become mad. And it is the same way with the world that surrounds us. If I obstinately told a man the truth to his face, it would mean I was taking him seriously. And to take something so unimportant seriously means to become less than serious oneself. I, you see, must lie, if I don't want to take madmen seriously and become one of them myself.”


Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves
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Laughable Loves Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera
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