Happiness and the unbearable lightness of being - thoughts i had after reading Milan Kundera's the Unbearable Lightness of Being
So much of happines, and this apparent, often unbearable lightness of being, is tied into the problem of dealing with freedom. Of arriving at the point you wished for, the platform from which to spring, only to feel paralysed, coveting that which you have left behind. Is happiness a virtual concept? Does it really exist in the long term? It depends what you attach to it. Or so I think. I know by now my answers will never be definitive. Doesn’t stop me trying to portray it as so! Conviction.
Regardless. Consider - when you are in a relationship with the person who may be best suited to you, how do you know? Those who may be best for your life, may not make you happy at every moment, but in their absence you will feel that unbearable lightness. That which affords you complete freedom to decide, choose, move and act unimpeded without conferring. Yet, leaves you feeling without anchor, without meaning, purpose and inspiration. In gaining so much, you have left that behind which gave you daily existence.
People born as two halves of a Hermaphrodite. An interesting idea; Plato’s idea. I(f you can see past the obvious blunder when encountering same sex relationships, it's only a metaphor). Then, the idea that this body is split and from it two people are born. That they spend their lives looking to reunite with the other half. It’s a nice idea. Neat and precise, yet romantic.
Then there is someone. One. Who fits you with a symmetry. Fits you so perfectly. But did he mean that you would complement each other? The inverse of each other? Or perhaps, and this is how I interpret his sentiment, that somewhere during the course of your life you shall meet someone how with whom you become your true self, and vice versa. In meeting you become greater than sum of your previous individual parts. I don’t think it would be true to the original idea to infer that, on meeting said person, you find they are a mirror image, mirrored across gender.
I would be comforted by the idea that there is more to us than we previous thought. That when reaching the right person ( and perhaps there are several, Plato’s idea was only to illustrate a point) we grow, we learn, we are enriched and blossom. That until that time we know there is more locked inside of us, perhaps some of which we have peered at, but knew not where to find the key to get a better view.
As milan kundera tells us. Relating the words of kante ( I think!), einmal ist keinmal. One life is no life. So at every juncture of life we are expected to evaluate the options with no real apriori knowledge. For instance. The only true way to find someone is the one you needed (and hopefully vice versa) is for you too lose them and encounter others. Not a favourable way of resolving life’s most troublesome issue. We have to guess. Yet the choices build on others and so we eliminate so much in life because we are destined to guess at everything we do.
But how many lives would it take to get things right? Would we ever?
In many ways such discussions are irrelevant. Such knowledge makes us wiser in the appreciation of our predicament. But it doesn’t help you. Perhaps it’s better to believe in a life that is determined outside of your control. Not pre-determined. Just one moment as a result of the last. A causal chain started long before. To continue ever more. There is no doubt that when presented with the same situation again, with the same lack of knowledge of the outcomes, you would make the same choice. If you were always going to make that decision, then you were always going to make every decision. From the very first, every one is a result of the last. So your life would always have panned out the same way. Free-will makes us feel special. Adds meaning. But perhaps it complicates. But on the flip side. What does that do for all the perpetrators of wrongdoing in the world? Is it the very best defence? Does it then justify their actions because it was always to be. are we powerless to change our ways?
Where do you stand?