Friday, August 21, 2015

*Sad Face*

While reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera wrote that happiness is repetition, when speaking of Karenin, the dog. These words have stuck with me. Kundera starts off by rejecting Nietzsche's philosophie of eternal return, saying that human lives are linear and do not repeat themselves for all of eternity, this Linear movement is what makes humans unbearably light or in my terms without purpose. Karenin, on the other hand, gets repetition in her life, Kundera says this gives a life heaviness or for me a purpose.
Karenin and all animals were not exiled from paradise, as Kundera puts it, "dogs were never expelled from Paradise. Karenin knew nothing about the duality of body and soul and had no concept of disgust"(Kundera 297). Previously Tereza has shown her strained attempts to separate her soul from her body by looking endlessly in the mirror.  Kundera says that Karenin does not have to struggle with this rumination of self.
Karenin gets what most humans search for all their lives, happiness, this is why I find what Kundera wrote so powerful. The only way to be happy is to not be human, because humans cannot live in the same circular patterns as animals do, how Karenin does in the novel or how paradise in Genesis was, any attempt would be futile. Humans can never be happy.


madison kahn said...

I think, along with the lack of repetetion in life, Kundera implies another reason why humans are unhappy. Humans have to deal with the worries, fears, and obligations that come from understanding life. Tomas and Tereza have to live under the constant eye of the Communist party, which contributes to their worries. It eventually becomes so bad that they have to uproot their life and move to the country (after Tomas had already lost his job and Tereza's photographs had been rejected because of censorship). Animals, on the other hand, do not comprehend these things and so, live in endless repetition. While Tomas and Tereza have to always be planning their next move, Karenin needs only to worry about the day to day life (hence the circular cycle).

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I agree as well Madison. So many times have I been petting my cat and have wished so dearly that we could switch places with him. To just be a cat and chill and be unaware of all of the "heavy" things that Kundera mentions in the novel would be glorious. My cat does not have to worry about responsibility, the origin and meaning of life, or even what he will eat for dinner. Ignorance is bliss. In which case, when classifying it as we did other values, knowledge, though powerful, would have to be put under the category of weight. A cat's life is the epitome of lightness, though for him, it does not seem at all unbearable. While for humans, living without anything to weigh us down can be very difficult, as Sabina realizes once she runs out of people to betray. I've seen my cat do some heavy things, such as massacre all baby birds within a 2 mile radius, but he stays unreasonably light. He simply places their corpses on my doorstep and leaves it all behind. How wonderful it would be to be a cat, that's something I'm sure even Kundera would agree with. That it would be wonderful to escape the weight, but also not suffocate when engulfed in lightness. Therefore I believe:

Kundera endorses peaches

Ashley Bossier said...

I have to disagree with Kundera. He claims that humans are not happy because we don't live in a reoccurring life. Personally, I would get bored to death doing the same routine everyday. But say this was the case and I had a life that repeats. The moment something changed in my "perfect" life everything would fall apart. We will use Karenin as an example. She goes through the same motions everyday and everything is constantly the same, never changing. Then one day she can't quite run like she used to be able to because the cancer has hit her. Ignorance is not always bliss, especially when dealing with life. Sure, dogs don't have to struggle with separating their soul from their body, but they have no idea what else is out there and what might come next. When she got cancer, Karenin's whole life was thrown off balance. She didn't know what to do and she was probably terrified! But for us, for humans, we know what might come next and we can prepare our selves. For me, I would rather know about something before it has the chance to sneak up on me like the cancer did to Karenin.

Jack Zheng said...

Both ideas agreeing and disagreeing with Kundera's seem equally valid (and they are), since there is no objective answer to what is "better." I wanted to add that humans also bear heavier lives due to wanting things we can't have, along with the other reasons mentioned in the discussion. It is a main source of suffering in every individual's life, and it is one of the major problems that Hinduism deals with. Some examples in the story are: Tereza's desire for Thomas to be loyal, Franz's desire to always be with Sabina, and Thomas' desire for freedom, just to name a few obvious ones. I am sure that each of us has at least some of that feeling in our lives too.