Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Brief Intermission: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Here's a broad generalization based on my singular personal experience: The Unbearable Lightness of Being seems to be one of those contemporary classics (?) that everyone means to read but no one actually ever does, unless you're majoring in philosophy maybe.

I started reading this book while I was studying abroad in London a few years ago but didn't get very far – shortly thereafter I ended up buying a used copy somewhere but still never took it off my bookshelf.

Finally, three years later now, I've borrowed a copy from the library to read. I am really enjoying the story and the way it's written. If you're an Amélie fan, you might like it as well. It's very much about love and relationships and human nature. Kind of profound but also very quirky and clever.

I came across this passage over the weekend:

While people are fairly young and the musical composition of their lives is still in its opening bars, they can go about writing it together and exchange motifs... but if they meet when they are older, like Franz and Sabina, their musical compositions are more or less complete, and every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them.

It may be hard to understand without some context, but in an attempt to provide some grounding... the narrator is referring to the way we sometimes encounter an object, an event, a theme, and turn it into a symbol or "motif" that follows us throughout the course of our lives and adds a layer of beauty and meaning to our day to day.

I just really love this par because I feel like, as human beings, we're constantly looking for people who will understand or can relate to us. But part of that depends on whether or not we speak the same language as the other person – not just verbally or physically but also experientially. And the older we get, the wider the gap becomes. Maybe I'm a little cynical. It's just something I've been pondering over a lot lately...

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