Sunday, April 17, 2011


Milan Kundera is one of the most insightful authors of the 21st century. Growing up in Czechoslovakia under communist rule, his works reflect the great struggles and triumphs under an irrational regime. I wanted to reproduce a selection from Kundera's seminal work: The Unbearable Lightness of Being:

“There’s no particular merit in being nice to one’s fellow man. Tereza had to treat all the other villagers decently because otherwise she couldn’t live there. Even with Tomas (her partner), she was obliged to behave lovingly because she needed him. We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotion- love, antipathy, charity, or malice--- and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals. 

 True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to form only when its recipient has no power. 

Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals… It is a completely selfish love: Tereza didn’t want anything out of her dog Karenin; she did not ever ask him to love her back. Nor had she ever asked herself the questions that plague human couples: Does he love me? Does he love anyone more than me? Does he love me more than I love him? Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearned to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) for our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company. Furthermore, Tereza accepted Karenin for what she was; she did not try to make him over in her image. No one can give anyone the gift of the idyll; only an animal can do so, because only animals were not expelled from Paradise.

So maybe the answer lies in just treating everyone like dogs in the best possible way, to not be plagued by all these human questions and love unconditionally because it is done out of desire that does not ask for reciprocation.



  1. i do genuinely love alot of kunderas work

  2. Thought filled minds are always intriguing.

  3. only treat someone good if it's going to help you at some point... that works for most successful people.

  4. Milan Kundera is not known to me but ill certainly give him a read.