Tuesday, February 01, 2005

a dimension of beauty

excerpt from: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Milan Kundera

"Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us. We read its message as much as gypsies read the images made by coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup. Necessity knows no magic formulae - they are all left to chance. If love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi's shoulders.

Our day-to-day life is bombarded with fortuities or, to be more precise, with accidental meetings of people and events we call coincidences. "Co-incidence" means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet. Tomas appears in the hotel restaurant at the same time the radio is playing Beethoven. We do not even notice the great majority of such coincidences. If the seat Tomas occupied had been occupied instead by the local butcher, Tereza never would have noticed that the radio was playing Beethoven (though the meeting of Beethoven and the butcher would also have been an interesting coincidence). But her nascent love inflamed her sense of beauty, and she would never forget the music. Whenever she heard it, she would be touched. Everything going on around her at that moment would be haloed by the music and take on its beauty.

They are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurence into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual's life. Anna could have chosen another day to take her life. But the motif of death and the railway station, unforgettably bound to the birth of love, enticed her in her hour of despair with its dark beauty. Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of distress.

It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences but it is right to chide the man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty."

6 comments:

transience said...

i am reading this book right now. brilliant. i like your taste in books.

Lorena said...
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Lorena said...
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Lorena said...

yes, I love that book. if you have any book recommendations, do tell.

Lorena said...

yes 3 ways to say the same thing :) having a little prob with blog and i posted comment 3 times. (in case all 3 are showing even though i deleted 2...ooops)

Lorena said...
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