With Tomas’ decision come questions not only of a moral value, but of repercussions that trace a line in history:
Another way of formulating the question is, Is it better to shout and thereby hasten the end, or to keep silent and gain thereby a slower death?
Is there any answer to these questions? (p. 222)
At which point the reader probably reflects on the war in (fill in blank) or some such life or death event of a more personal nature. But Kundera pulls us out of our reflection:
And again he thought the thought we already know: Human life occurs only once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can make only one decision; we are not granted a second, third, or fourth life in which to compare various decisions.
Yeahbut, what if? What if life were a living hypertext and by traversing a mapping of links we could come upon that instant in time where the decision is made and choose another path?
Then we are returned to the second theme of the novel, that of weight or value of life:
Einmal ist keinmal. What happens but once might as well not have happened at all. (…) History is as light as individual human life, unbearably light, light as a feather, as dust swirling into the air, as whatever will no longer exist tomorrow. (p. 223)