mihairusu

Mihai Alexandru Rusu Alexandru Rusu من عند Namrup Chah Bagicha, Assam, الهند من عند Namrup Chah Bagicha, Assam, الهند

قارئ Mihai Alexandru Rusu Alexandru Rusu من عند Namrup Chah Bagicha, Assam, الهند

Mihai Alexandru Rusu Alexandru Rusu من عند Namrup Chah Bagicha, Assam, الهند

mihairusu

لقد استمتعت حقا هذا الكتاب؛ أكثر من المؤلفين الآخرين.

mihairusu

Finally...extant collections of some of the most influencial and frankly fun comics of all time.

mihairusu

(view spoiler) REVIEW: TRIFLING WITH METAPHORS: Metaphysical Metaphors This is a wonderful novel, ostensibly about sex and relationships in late communist era Prague, but it's equally relevant to contemporary life under capitalism. From memory, the film highlights the sexual relationships between Tomas and Tereza and Sabina and Franz. However, there's a strong philosophical thread in the novel, which is difficult to capture on film (much to Kundera's frustration). As in his other novels, Kundera uses metaphysical concepts as metaphors for life in general (which, when you think about it, is what metaphysics is really all about, anyway). The metaphysics is spread throughout the novel, interspersed between character details and a fragmented plot. It's almost as if philosophy is just one more ingredient in the ideal post-modernist novel (at least, what is in effect a novel of ideas). Metaphysics is the existential framework within which the characters operate, even if we don't necessarily hear what they are thinking. Their actions within the existential environment or situation are meant to be enough. You absorb the metaphysics bit by bit without having to think too much about it at the time. However, once you finish the novel, you might be left with an impression, rather than an understanding. It takes time and effort to digest and integrate the philosophy. Besides, it's arguable that there is a dialectical conflict between the ideas that isn't necessarily resolved into some neat synthesis. The Danger of Metaphors I want to try to assemble and document my understanding of some of the key words, metaphysics and metaphors, so I at least don't forget them. However, we shouldn't forget that Kundera himself warns us against the power of metaphors (though perhaps he's being a bit tongue in cheek): "...metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love." On the other hand, he revealed the importance of key words in a subsequent interview: "As I was writing 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being', I realised that the code of this or that character is made up of certain key words. For Tereza: body, soul, vertigo, weakness, idyll, Paradise. For Tomas: lightness, weight...Each of these words has a different meaning in the other person's existential code. Of course, the existential code is not examined in abstracto; it reveals itself progressively in the action, in the situations." LIGHTNESS AND WEIGHT: About the Light and Heavy Weight Title This is probably the most important metaphor, certainly it's significant enough to be alluded to in the title. Kundera refers to pairs of opposites defined by the philosopher Parmenides. Lightness and weight are one of the pairs, lightness being assigned a positive quality, and weight a negative. This perspective isn't shared by Beethoven, who believes that weight is a positive (which is then reflected in his music): "Necessity, weight, and value are three concepts inextricably bound: only necessity is heavy, and only what is heavy has value." So, what are lightness and weight? The Burden of Weight Kundera isn't particularly specific about what he means, so there is an element of guesswork and paraphrase involved in my analysis. Weight can be a burden: "When we want to give expression to a dramatic situation in our lives, we tend to use metaphors of heaviness. We say that something has become a great burden to us. We either bear the burden or fail and go down with it, we struggle with it, win or lose." On the other hand, weight seems to be something that grounds being, that cements it in place, that gives it meaning, certainty and comfort: "The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground...The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. "Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant." The Splendid Lightness This something might be our relationships: personal, family, work, social, political, cultural. It might be things that unite or bond us. Nevertheless, it can compromise our individuality or our freedom or our imagination. Existentialism tends to oppose groundedness to concepts such as the abyss or the void. If we're not grounded, then we could fall into the abyss or void. However, Kundera sees something positive in the lightness, in its very opposition to groundedness. Lightness lets us imagine, rise, float, fly, even if the result is that we fly away, flee or escape from burdens and responsibilities: "If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness." Erotic Friendship When we first meet Tomas, he doesn't believe in love, because love is a bond, a chain. He speaks of "the aggression of love". He seeks instead "erotic friendship": "The only relationship that can make both partners happy is one in which sentimentality has no place and neither partner makes any claim on the life and freedom of the other... "The unwritten contract of erotic friendship stipulated that Tomas should exclude all love from his life." Love, compassion, sentimentality, emotionalism are all heavy, weighty: "...there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes." The Intoxication of the Weak There are negatives attached to weight. However, freedom itself isn't meant to be easy either. As Sartre suggests, freedom is its own burden. As we rise, weightless, light, we can get so high, so free, that we suffer from vertigo: "...vertigo...a heady, insuperable longing to fall. We might call vertigo the intoxication of the weak." The higher we get, the more we, the weak, want to return to safe ground, even if it suggests a fall, such as a fall into the abyss or the void: "...man finds himself in a void that makes his head spin and beckons him to fall." It's this vertigo or the fear of the implications of our own freedom that is the unbearable lightness of being. ETERNAL RETURN VERSUS EPHEMERALITY: Eternal Return I've dealt with lightness and weight first, because of their apparent primacy. However, Kundera derives this metaphor from Nietzsche's idea of "eternal return", pursuant to which we think: "...that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum!" The Shadow of Ephemerality This idea causes us to think negatively of a life that does not recur (i.e., a life that is impermanent or ephemeral): "A life which disappears once and for all, which does not return, is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing." This passage highlights a potential negative in the lightness of being. Kundera's allusion to Nietzsche questions the transitory or ephemeral, that which occurs only once: "Einmal ist keinmal...what happens but once might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all." Nietzsche (as represented and appropriated by Kundera) seems to associate lightness with worthlessness. The ephemeral has no transcendental value beyond the life of the individual. We mean, and are worth, nothing to anybody else. Worth Its Weight (in German) In contrast, recurrence implies weight, and weight implies value. If it is eternal, it was meant to be, it was inevitable, it was meant to last. In German: "Es muss sein!" We tend to take this approach to love: "We all reject out of hand the idea that the love of our life may be something light or weightless; we presume our love is what must be, that without it our life would no longer be the same: we feel that Beethoven himself, gloomy and awe-inspiring, is playing the 'Es muss sein!' to our own great love." Unbearable Responsibility Yet, eternal return also implies a responsibility: "If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross...In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens." It's arguable that we should be more responsible for our deeds if they eternally recur than if they are merely transitory. If events keep recurring, there must be a consistent theme, a deliberation, a determination, or cause and effect for which we can be held accountable. We are urged to take our lives more seriously, if all our joy and pain will be locked in place in perpetuity. COMMUNISM, CAPITALISM AND KITSCH: Aesthetic Kitsch Kundera ends his novel with a discussion of what he calls "aesthetic kitsch": "The aesthetic ideal...is a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist...kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence. Kitsch seems to be the weighty, the heavy, the sentimental, insofar as it's collectively embraced and enforced by society (whether communist or capitalist). The individualistic, the light, the free is anathema, a threat to collective self-belief: "...everything that infringes on kitsch must be banished for life: every display of individualism (because a deviation from the collective is a spit in the eye of the smiling brotherhood); every doubt (because anyone who starts doubting details will end by doubting life itself); all irony (because in the realm of kitsch everything must be taken quite seriously); and the mother who abandons her family or the man who prefers men to women, thereby calling into question the holy decree 'Be fruitful and multiply.'" The Brotherhood of Kitsch Communism is particularly vulnerable to kitsch, because it seeks to establish a brotherhood of man on earth. Everything that threatens the achievement of this metaphysical quest here on earth (which is the only place it can be achieved) must be eliminated. The Grand March is a crucial, if metaphorical, step on the journey towards brotherhood: "The fantasy of the Grand March...is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies. The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles notwithstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March." The Monstrous Threat to Kitsch On the other hand, Tomas is too much of an individualist for marches. Sabina, his painter-mistress, says: "The reason I like you...is you're the complete opposite of kitsch. In the kingdom of kitsch you would be a monster." His monstrosity lies in his embrace of the lightness of being in preference to its weight. The monster is the one who by its very existence questions the earnest self-belief of a kitsch society (whether communist or capitalist). FALLING BETWEEN TWO WALLS: Looking at the Opposite Walls Several times over the course of the chronologically disjointed novel, Kundera finds the recurring image of Tomas "standing at the window of his flat and looking across the courtyard at the opposite walls, not knowing what to do." Falling, in Love Tomas might never fall to ground of his own accord. However, he does love Tereza enough to marry her, even if he persists with his relationship with Sabina and many other women for much of their marriage. Sometimes, it seems, the mind has to sit back and listen to the heart. Evidently, it's not as easy as it seems to decide between the opposites, to choose between love and erotic friendship, between kitsch and freedom, between the heavy and the light. Freedom is always vulnerable to vertigo, to a headspin and fall, particularly when in close proximity to others. SOUNDTRACK: The Raincoats - "No One's Little Girl" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEvl-... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg7zS... The Au Pairs - "It's Obvious" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjbBr... The Au Pairs - "Diet" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iaCa... Rainy Day - "I'll Keep It with Mine" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5Zeh... Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - "That Summer Feeling" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzc3l... "When the cool of the pond makes you drop down on it When the smell of the lawn makes you flop down on it When the teenage car gets the cop down on it That time is here for one more year... That summer feeling's gonna haunt you the rest of your life... If you’ve forgotten what I’m naming You’re gonna long to reclaim it one day You see that summer feeling's gonna haunt you the rest of your life But if you wait until you're older A sad resentment will smoulder one day And then this summer feeling will come haunt you Then that summer feeling will come taunt you That summer feeling will hurt you later in your life." The Blue Aeroplanes - "Weightless" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkPSL... Robert Wyatt - "Shipbuilding" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6T9q... The Passions - "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLn_o... Guy Debord - "Critique of Separation" (1961) https://vimeo.com/58914133