Quotes from Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the shore”

I love Murakami’s works and here are some quotes which I thought were worth remembering…

“According to Aristophanes in Plato’s “The Banquet”, there were three types of people,” Oshima says, “Have you heard of this?”
“In ancient times people werent just simply male or female, but one of three: male/male, male/female or female/female. Each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangement and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing other half.”

“Of course they wrote to each other every day. ‘It might be good for us to try being apart like this,’ he wrote to her, ‘then we can really tell how much we mean to each other.’ But she didn’t really believe that. She knew their relationship was real enough that they didn’t need to go out of their way to test it. It was a one-in-a-million union, fated to be, something that could never be broken apart. She was absolutely sure of that. But he wasn’t. Or maybe he was, but simply didn’t accept it. So he went ahead and left for Tokyo, thinking that overcoming a few obstacles would strengthen their love for each other. Men are like that sometimes.

  • This quote reminds me of why we doctors don’t go around scanning everyone with all we have. Eg. Random abdominal pains that get CT-ed every time, only to find nothing, and then later getting leukaemia from radiation over-exposure. Perhaps not everything in life needs to be stretched. Doing for the sake of doing might lead to disaster.

Of course its important to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Individual errors in judgement can usually be corrected. As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form and continue to thrive. They’re a lost cause and I don’t want anyone like that coming in here.

Hagita let out a loud laugh. “It isn’t a question of intelligence. I’m not all that bright, I just have my own way of thinking. That’s why people get disgusted with me. They accuse me of always bringing up things that are better left alone. If you try to use your head to think about things, people don’t want to have anything to do with you.”

My grandpa always said that asking questions is embarrassing for a moment, but not asking’s embarassing for a lifetime.

  • Amen

“Don’t ask me. God’s God. He’s everywhere, watching what we do, judging whether its good or bad.”
“Sounds like a football referee.”

“Sort of, I guess.”

  • Is AFL then a reference to polytheism?

“Perhaps,” Oshima says, as if fed up. “Perhaps most people in the world aren’t trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real pickle. You’d better remember that. People actually prefer not being free.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined civilization as when people build fences. A very perceptive observation. And its true – all civilization is the product of a fenced-in lack of freedom.

  • A brilliant quote this one. Though quite a cynical picture of human lifestyle.

Not that anybody’s life had more clear-cut meaning to it. What’s really important for people, what really has dignity, is how they die. Compared to that, he thought, how you lived didn’t amount to much. Still, how you live determines how you die. These thoughts ran through his head as he stared at the face of the dead old man.

“Are memories such an important thing?”
“It depends,” she replies, and closes her eyes. “In some cases they’re the most important thing there is.”



~ by shybeg122 on September 4, 2009.

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