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Thread: unbearable lightness of being

  1. #1

    Default unbearable lightness of being

    most of the time in life, we see most people talking about:

    duty, family, the things that tie us in to life, the things that make life worth living. this has been termed before as the "unbearable heaviness of being". the things are wearisome, yet encouraging.

    a friend recently mentioned to me an interesting concept, i found, the unbearable lightness of being, not sure if it was first brought up in the novel similarly titled, but this is its gist:

    According to Kundera, "being" is full of "unbearable lightness" because each of us has only one life to live: "Einmal ist keinmal" ("once is nonce", i.e., "what happened once might as well have never happened at all"). Therefore, each life is ultimately insignificant; every decision ultimately does not matter. Since decisions do not matter, they are "light": they do not tie us down. But at the same time, the insignificance of our decisions - our lives, or being - is unbearable. Hence, "the unbearable lightness of being".
    what do you think? is life unbearably heavy, or light?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sion's Avatar
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    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Yes. I have been meditating this for a long time.

    I come to the conclusion that you are also quite a unbearable light being.


  3. #3

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by Sion View Post
    Yes. I have been meditating this for a long time.

    I come to the conclusion that you are also quite a unbearable light being.

    are you sure i am not unbearable and heavy?

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    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    are you sure i am not unbearable and heavy?
    The unbearable heavy ones don't normally survive long in this forum because the unbearable light ones make sure the lives of the heavy ones are unbearable here.

  5. #5

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by Sion View Post
    The unbearable heavy ones don't normally survive long in this forum because the unbearable light ones make sure the lives of the heavy ones are unbearable here.
    rofl, you always win la

    never fail to crack me up

    btw, when's your next SION SPECIAL SHOOTOUT SERIES? we all want more..

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sion's Avatar
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    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    rofl, you always win la

    never fail to crack me up

    btw, when's your next SION SPECIAL SHOOTOUT SERIES? we all want more..
    I am still looking for a sexy outfit to go with new black heels.

  7. #7

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by Sion View Post
    I am still looking for a sexy outfit to go with new black heels.
    tweety bird in black heels?

  8. #8

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    I can imagine Kundera is slapping his forehead the way this thread has gone...

    Anyways, some background info on the writer/philosopher can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kundera

    I guess things are only significant when you see it as such. If you don't care, then it doesn't matter. I tend to notice that my best output does correspond to periods when I'm high in morale and interest.

  9. #9

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    what do you think? is life unbearably heavy, or light?
    wah. it's been a few years since i read the book, and i don't have it here to refer to. but if i remember correctly, kundera's treatment of lightness grows out of nietzsche's concept of eternal return.

    and to nietzsche, the idea of return was more like a sort of litmus test. it doesn't matter if life is echoes eternally or not, but can you bear the thought of living this same life again and again forever? can you say "yes" to life?

    so it isn't weight or lightness that is unbearable. if you are happy with your life, you say "yes", weigh me down, i would repeat this life. i would want it repeated. if your life sucks, then no, please let this be the end. let me live only once. or nonce. let me disappear and be lost in infinity.

    anyway, go and read the book lah. it is fantastic. kundera is one of the most intelligent and funny writers ever. though he does lecture a bit.
    Last edited by pai; 9th December 2007 at 01:30 PM.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by cjtune View Post
    I can imagine Kundera is slapping his forehead the way this thread has gone...

    I guess things are only significant when you see it as such. If you don't care, then it doesn't matter. I tend to notice that my best output does correspond to periods when I'm high in morale and interest.
    oh certainly.. sion is very unbearably light when he's in black heels though!

    that's an interesting statement.. in a way one could criticize it the same way economic theory has been criticized.. firstly both have the idea that "if people like to do it, then they will do. if they don't like, then they won't do".. and they look circularly illogical.

    i'm more interested as to what a person holding the lightness view may think of life though. does it mean that he would sit there and do nothing since doing anything will not affect anything?
    Quote Originally Posted by pai View Post
    wah. it's been a few years since i read the book, and i don't have it here to refer to. but if i remember correctly, kundera's treatment of lightness grows out of nietzsche's concept of eternal return.

    and to nietzsche, the idea of return was more like a sort of litmus test. it doesn't matter if life is echoes eternally or not, but can you bear the thought of living this same life again and again forever? can you say "yes" to life?

    so it isn't weight or lightness that is unbearable. if you are happy with your life, you say "yes", weigh me down, i would repeat this life. i would want it repeated. if your life sucks, then no, please let this be the end. let me live only once. or nonce. let me disappear and be lost in infinity.

    anyway, go and read the book lah. it is fantastic. kundera is one of the most intelligent and funny writers ever. though he does lecture a bit.
    i would love to, but i suspect my school library does not have it.. oh my word it does. ah yes, i get what you mean. are you certain that one happy with life would necessarily want to go through it over and over again? to me, that would be torture. it would be as if i am living a prerecorded movie.. unless you throw in the parameters that i will forget, then possibly.

    i remember some other dude putting forth the idea that things happen no matter what people do. can't remember who it was though. e.g. if hitler had been killed in the crib, some other guy would have taken over him, though perhaps without that cute moustache. if the terrorists in the planes in 911 had not been born, other people would have done it anyways.

    the thing is, whatever the case, if life is unbearably heavy OR light, we still have it. so it does not necessitate that an unbearably light life is not worth living.. though it could be seen as such at first glance. you could put it that the life given to us, is already a sunken cost, i.e. it does not matter what we do with it because it is already there.. but that doesn't mean you MUST screw it up

  11. #11

    Default Re: unbearable lightness of being

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    i would love to, but i suspect my school library does not have it.. oh my word it does. ah yes, i get what you mean. are you certain that one happy with life would necessarily want to go through it over and over again? to me, that would be torture. it would be as if i am living a prerecorded movie.. unless you throw in the parameters that i will forget, then possibly.
    hm i don't think the eternal recurrence of your life is meant to be taken literally, like some kind of lifelong groundhog day. but if we want to pursue that, then yes of course you must forget, otherwise it wouldn't be the same life again.

    i guess what nietzsche meant wasn't that you experience the same life again and again. just a thought exercise - that if you truly embraced life, you would embrace the idea that your actions er... echo in eternity

    p.s. of course your uni library has a copy. that book has been translated into many different languages. i think most reasonable sized libraries in the world would have it.
    Last edited by pai; 9th December 2007 at 09:36 PM.
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