As Valentine's Day approaches, you'll soon start to see a great divide in the people around us. There will be those who celebrate the day and throw themselves into the festivities and ideas of love and gifts and eating out at fancy places. Then there will be those who oppose a socially constructed, capitalist-driven holiday that seeks to profit off the idea of love. But, perhaps most common, yet the least vocal, are the people who fall somewhere in the middle. People who want to celebrate a holiday that they know is stupid because it feels OK to be stupid if it's with someone else. At the end of the day, most of us are lonely.
Few writers capture the complexity of life and love as well as Haruki Murakami. Through his stories, he shows us characters who desperately want love, who never think about love, who love someone who will never love them back, who don't know how to love, and those who are loved but feel nothing about it.
Regardless of where you fall on Valentine's Day, or whether you relate specifically to any of Murakami's characters, his quotes on love are worth thinking about. Below are 13 of his finest quotes, of which at least one will cause you to pause for a moment.
1. “If you can love someone with your whole heart, even one person, then there’s salvation in life. Even if you can’t get together with that person.”
6. “One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”
10. “But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o’clock in the morning.”
12. “Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person’s essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”