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Ignorance
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Discussed > Ignorance - Milan Kundera

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Hoda Marmar (Bibliomanic) | 60 comments Mod
This is a book all of the members enjoyed, in different degrees of course. It's about immigrants from Czech republic, and how once the communist regime falls apart, they come back to their homeland. It has been 22 years, and we are invited to see what and how they feel about their country, before and after they returned. It is enjoyable, like all of Kundera's works, with a pinch of existentialism in it.


Hoda Marmar (Bibliomanic) | 60 comments Mod
“The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”

“To die; to decide to die; that's much easier for an adolescent than for an adult. What? Doesn't death strip an adolescent of a far larger portion of future? Certainly it does, but for a young person, the future is a remote, abstract, unreal thing he doesn't really believe in.”

“The more vast the amount of time we've left behind us, the more irresistible is the voice calling us to return to it.”

“Man can only be certain about the present moment. But is that quite true either? Can he really know the present? Is he in a position to make any judgment about it? Certainly not. For how can a person with no knowledge of the future understand the meaning of the present? If we do not know what future the present is leading us toward, how can we say whether this present is good or bad, whether it deserves our concurrence, or our suspicion, or our hatred?”

“We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.”

“And there lies the horror: the past we remember is devoid of time. Impossible to reexperience a love the way we reread a book or resee a film.”

― Milan Kundera, Ignorance


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