Roads and Highways (Kundera)

I quote:

“Road: a strip of ground over which one walks.  A highway differs from a road not only because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another.  A highway has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points that it connects.  A road is a tribute to space.  Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop.  A highway is the triumphant devaluation of space, which thanks to it has been reduced to a mere obstacle to human movement and a waste of time.

Before roads and paths disappeared from the landscape, they had disappeared from the human soul: man stopped wanting to walk, to walk on his own feet and to enjoy it.  What’s more, he no longer saw his own life as a road, but as a highway: a line that led from one point to another, from the rank of captain to the rank of general, from the role of wife to the role of widow.  Time became a mere obstacle to life, an obstacle that had to be overcome by ever greater speed.

Road and highway; these are also two different conceptions of beauty… In the world of highways, a beautiful landscape means: an island of beauty connected by a long line with other islands of beauty.  In the world of roads and paths, beauty is continuous and constantly changing; it tells us at every step: ‘Stop!'”

– Milan Kundera, Immortality

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About Doctor Quack

Just another bonehead with an internet connection.
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