Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quote by Milan Kundera About Dogs

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace."        

I found this quote by Kundera interesting when I thought about Karenin, the dog in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and how it relates to two quotations from the narrator in the book. The first quotation explains how “dog time moves in a circle like the hands of a clock, which-they, too, unwilling to dash madly ahead-turn round and round the face, day in and day out following the same path.” This is the only time in the book that the narrator, and thus Kandera, agrees with Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return but he makes sure to distinguish it from human time on earth, which he considers linear. Later on in the novel, however, Kundera does give an example of human time moving similarly to dog time. The narrator says, “Life in Paradise was not like following a straight line to the unknown; it was an adventure. It moved in a circle among known objects. Its monotony bred happiness.” So if a dog lives the way humans will live in Paradise, then they are truly our link to Eden, as Kundera has said in the quote above. Kundera even says that sitting with a dog is like returning to Eden. The novel also states, “Adam was like Karenin.” So, by inference, we can conclude that, in the Garden of Eden, man experienced time they way animals do now, in a circular fashion. We can also possibly say that, based on Kundera’s words, Adam was not fully human because he was “like Karenin.” He experienced time as a circle while in Eden and, since to be human is to experience time linearly, Adam was never truly human.

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