Thoughts on Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being starts off with Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return, Kundera claiming it is ultimately a myth, since we can never repeat what has already happened. Or better yet, our lives are finite and therefore lamentable and ephemeral. Each moment lived, is lived once, in spite of the illusory notion of déjà vu. Everything that has passed is “illuminated by the aura of nostalgia,” as Kundera writes, because of this transient nature of our lives, which in turn constitutes the “lightness” of our existence, or being. Yet this lightness also refers to an insignificance, and so we desire the “heaviness” (indelible suffering?) that gives our life meaning. We desire the eternal return. We want to repeat ourselves. We don’t want to die.

Some choice quotes so far:

“Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love” page 11

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo.” Page 59

“On the surface, an intelligible lie; underneath, the unintelligible truth” p. 63