LITERATURE: The Unbearable Lightness – More on Guilt/Innocence

Ah, you take a break and the thoughts continue on in hypertext threads to another universe of ideas: applying the principle of weight/lightness that Kundera is giving us.

Using the passages of the book noted in the prior post, let’s examine the theory. One would think that bearing the burden of guilt would be the weight, the responsibility, and that the declaration of innocence (even out of ignorance) would be the lightness and freedom of burden.  But wait–isn’t that the very essence of "the unbearable lightness?"

For those who may shout that "not knowing" frees them from the burden, also, if they have a shred of decency, understand that they do indeed bear responsibility and that’s what their burden is. Maybe it’s just conscience, or maybe it’s something within each of us that doesn’t let us off the hook with ourselves as easily as society might be willing to do. Maybe it’s that ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ that is a self-imposed standard that only each man knows for himself.

And, I think that we also impose a double standard; one for own behavior and one for that of others. Some people are more demanding of others than they are on themselves. Some are more forgiving of others than of themselves. But the unbearable burden is the one we take up and carry when we’re not looking to do so.

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