[06 September, 2009]

ruminating on mankind's debacles

It was only a matter of time before I finally sat down to write anything about a book that pretty much changed my life (or at least, had a large influence on my current perspective on life). 

The Unbearable Lightness of Being offers a series of convoluted love stories that take place during the tumultuous late-1960s in Czechoslovakia, and a really wonderful glimpse into the philosophical innerworkings of these interesting characters. Anyway, all these said philosophical innerworkings have in many ways affected those chronic dilemmas I have brewing in the back of my mind. And one of these days, I should really sit down and formulate said effects (it is hard!). For now, I will leave you with a passage that is found toward the end of the book, and that had me crying my eyes out just now. It's about one of the female characters, Tereza, her terminally ill dog, Karenin, and their mutual loving companionship as members of the animal kingdom:

"Tereza keeps appearing before my eyes. I see her sitting on the stump petting Karenin's head and ruminating on mankind's debacles. Another image also comes to mind: Nietzsche leaving his hotel in Turin. Seeing a horse and a coachman beating it with a whip, Nietzsche went up to the horse and, before the coachman's very eyes, put his arms around the horse's neck and burst into tears.

That took place in 1889, when Nietzsche, too, had removed himself from the world of people. In other words, it was at the time when his mental illness had just erupted. But for that very reason I feel his gesture has broad implications: Nietzsche was trying to apologize to the horse for Descartes [who claimed that animals have no souls and that man is "maƮtre et propriƩtaire de la nature". I myself am just really not a huge fan of Descartes in general.]. His lunacy (that is, his final break with mankind) began at the very moment he burst into tears over the horse.

And that is the Nietzsche I love, just as I love Tereza with the mortally ill dog resting his head in her lap. I see them one next to the other: both stepping down from the road along which mankind, "the master and proprietor of nature," marches onward."

I think I might finally be ready now to defy my Russian upbringing and all other cultural considerations, and that is, to try being a vegetarian.

0 sighs or salutations:

Post a Comment