Unbearable Lightness

I just finished reading the book The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Man, that’s a great book. It’s philosophical and real at the same time. All four characters in the book as so disillusioned, their stories are totally captivating Some of my favorite passages are below.

The first is a great one and reminds me of my friend Suan whose biggest fear is being mediocre. It also really resonated with me. Growing up, my dad often said the hardest thing about going to a public school is remember to keep pushing yourself. It’s something that i never forgot, although sometimes i wonder “to what end?” because it’s exhausting. That thought came to mind during this passage…

Anyone whose goal is to expect something higher must expect some day to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? Then why do we feel it even when the observation tower comes equipped with a sturdy handrail? No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.

The other passage i read made me think about my good friend Clyde. It is interesting how people who constantly sleep around can dismiss it as “looking for the ideal” and justifying their being alone as being a romantic. I think Clyde fits more into the epic category although i also think there is redemption in his case as he does feel disappointed…

Men who pursue a multitude of women fit neatly into two categories. Some seek their own subjective and unchanging dream of a woman in all women. Others are prompted by a desire to possess the endless variety of the objective female world.

The obsession of the former is lyrical: what they seek in women is themselves, their ideal, and since an ideal is by definition something that can never be found, they are disappointed again and again. The disappointment that propels them from woman to woman gives their inconstancy a kind of romantic excuse

The obsession of the latter is epic, the man projects no subjective ideal on women, and since everything interests him, nothing can disappointed him. This inability to be disappointed has something scandalous about it. The obsession of the epic womanizer strikes people as lacking in redemption (redemption by disappointment)

The final quote is one discussion the inner soul versus his outer appearance and an eyes open vs. eyes shut debate. It discusses why 2 different people might prefer during sex to do one or the other (i’m keeping this post PG. If you want the heat, get the book)…

Living for Sabina meant seeing. Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness….

The pleasure for Franz and his body called for darkness. The darkness for him was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we each carry within us…

…But the larger a man grows in his own inner darkness, the more his outer form diminishes. A man with closed eyes is a wretch of a man.

All in all, it is a fantastic book. If you haven’t read it, you should pick it up. You can get it on Amazon here (link)

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