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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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We live

We die

We grace this world momentarily

Light like a ladybug

Unbearably swift

Cherish this moment

Love those close and dear

Make the world a better place

Oh how quickly

Life drifts 

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It’s been years since I last read Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The first time I didn’t understand it all. Why do two people who love each other hurt each other? How can the philandering Tomas love different women so genuinely yet also claim to only love Teresa?

Having lived a bit longer the book makes more sense. Tomas lives on the lightness of life. One life, one chance. Why not love all and experiencing all? His love for other women doesn’t take away from his love for Teresa.

Teresa lives on the heaviness of life. One life, one chance. Why not love one and love one perfectly? Her love for Tomas is wholesome, all-encompassing. The moment she showed up at his doorstep, suitcase in hand, she had found the love of her life and never looked back.

One life. One chance. How do you live yours?  

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24 comments on “The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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  4. I also read this as a teen, that and Camus ‘The Stranger’ and Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’ were the 3 that sculpted my early outlook on things. I’m probably overdue to revisit those books! I do still own copies…

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    • Those are some pillar books! I haven’t read Camus but I liked Siddhartha too. I remember it being very philosophical but I didn’t identify with the protagonist. What were your impression of these as a teen?

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      • It was well over 20 years ago, but I do remember the sensation of bleakness and some sort of feeling that I found voices that spoke to me and some of the thoughts and ideas I struggled with as a young kid growing up with a loose Catholic upbringing. I was a lapsed Catholic by 3rd grade yet remained in a Catholic grade school through 8th grade. I studied martial Arts from 3rd to 6th grade and was early exposed to Eastern philosophies via lessons from my Kung-Fu teacher who dropped Confucius and Lao-Tzu on us daily. I could go on about it, but as a teen I felt blessed and lucky to discover artists who went against the grain and it allowed me to embrace my individual voice and live life in the moment and go with the flow, create and discover and destroy as well because none of it really matters in such the huge way that people make it all out to be, all is in motion and everything passes.
        Those were just a few books that opened doors to others of course. I hope this isn’t too scattershot! I should revisit some of those titles.

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        • “Everything passes” and “sensation of bleakness” – I could relate somewhat. On the point that everything is ephemeral I agree, and yes, we should seize the day and enjoy the little time we have. I also think that because our existence is transient we should do well, treat people kindly, be our best selves. I guess that’s the only way we can live without regrets.
          On bleakness, I felt that somewhat too as a teen. There were many questions unanswered and life unlived that literature provided a glimpse into that. Not to mention being shocked by contexts portrayed in the likes of Unbearable!
          Thanks for sharing. I’d love to hear your views after revisiting some of the titles as an adult.

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