the unbearable lightness of being /milan kundera

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. 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. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”

by Milan Kundera, from “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”

Sometimes the things that we struggle with the most, the thoughts that weigh the most heavily on our shoulders, are in themselves our objects of greatest virtue.

No matter how tremendous they become, you have to ask yourself, what would you be left with without them? Is substance a burden? Life without any conflict or tribulations is easy. Yet the emptiness left behind becomes in itself a burden.

So the question becomes a matter of choice between the weight of substance, duty, and love, versus the sometimes overwhelming weight of nothing; of insignificance…

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