Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is both the title of a novel and a feature film adapted from the novel (which, according to the novelist, was a disastrous interpretation of his work). Although both the book and the film passed through my brain's cognitive learning center, nothing of it remains as retrievable information - except the title.

Like a parrot taught certain phrases, this title has been running through my mind many times a day for the past few weeks. God knows why, except now the time has come to give it a voice, since it has been screaming for expression. 

It seems that the author was combing several contradictory world views into one enigmatic title, as if to signify that no definitive answer could be ascertained. Because - it is impossible to experience lightness of being and an unbearable gestalt simultaneously. When lightness of being is present, nothing else intrudes on that space, just as a light switched on chases the darkness simply by its illuminating and pervasive character.

If something has the characteristic of being unbearable, then by its very nature, it cannot be awarded the privilege of partnering with lightness. Thus, the oxymoron inherent in this famous book title gets under my skin.

The only unbearable lightness of being that my imagination conjures up is perhaps a feather that has landed on my nose and is ticking it in an unbearably itchy manner.

But I don't think that is what the great Kundera had in mind. Sorry, Mr. Man of literary genius; the nose-tickling feather might be an insult to your deeply constructed premise, but it is the only way I can lighten up my take on an unbearable title. 

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