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15 September 2012

by Milan Kundera
My new friend, Syarah, lent me this book. It's amazing when your new friend shares their printed friends with you.
It is hauntingly beautiful, and I wish to preserve some of the lines here.
...Because suicide would be a betrayal, a refusal to wait, a loss of patience.
 This is the real and the only reason for friendship: to provide a mirror so the other person can contemplate his image from the past, which, without the eternal blah-blah of memories between pals, would long ago have disappeared.
  How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present?

“If hatred strikes you, if you get accused, thrown to the lions, you can expect one of two reactions from people who know you: some of them will join in the kill, the others will discreetly pretend to know nothing, hear nothing, so you can go right on seeing them and talking to them. That second category, discreet and tactful, those are your friends. 'Friends' in the modern sense of the term. Listen, Jean-Marc, I've known that forever."

To ensure that the self doesn't shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered like potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends.

and lastly:

You can't measure the mutual affection of two human beings by the number of words they exchange.

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