I recently read Milan Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being translated from Czech, and I have to say that it is an amazing book, with so many compelling ideas and characters. The real beauty of the book lies in how specific motifs flit in and our of the story weaving itself into other peoples lives, but affecting them all in such different ways. Not only is it magnificently written - and therefore translated, but it also contains so many quotes that really mean something to humans like ourselves.
Much of the book is hard to really understand as being only 16 has meant I have not experienced all the events that the characters under-go, but certainly there are moments when I think: 'Yes I really understand how that character is feeling' either by experiencing the same or similar thing or just being able to connect and experience that feeling with the character that Kundera creates.
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object
Seeing this quote would maybe make you think of love, and never having been in love I cannot really relate to this quote. However from the complete and near flawless development of the characters, I can begin to understand this quote. Tereza - whom this quote is taken from - is so obsessed and enthralled by her husband, Tomas, that one word command is enough to make her respond. His words are actions to her. Despite her manner and her seemingly following her heart, she admits to her relationship being like a 'public rape', immediately creating an image of a violence relationship in our minds. It highlights how women feel in relationships and how they respond to it, something which is relevant even in our culture and time.
Not only does this quote reflect the way that Tereza feels about herself, but it also emphasises how we are almost slaves to our passions, much of Plato's argument. We go for what we want and that is our own choice, but do we really have a choice once we have chosen that route. It's hard to understand, so using the analogy of a drug is easier to understand. To begin with it is your choice whether or not to take the drug, and since you are causing no harm to others, then no one can interject and prohibit you from carrying this out. However once you have taken the drug a few times, addiction kicks in. Now you must reimburse your need for the drug to keep from you feeling worse of than before - in this way you have now become a slave to your passion.
I feel that this novel opens many questions like this one, and it has opened my mind to other things in life. Many people have said that the book changed their life. I would not go that far, but I think it's fair to say that it does impact you in a certain way whilst studying it, several ideas bounce off each other and you suddenly grasp the story and understand fully what Kundera is trying to say. Don't live your life how others wish you to live it. Live it for yourself.