The Unbearable Lightness of Being...

by Cognitive_Dissident 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Cognitive_Dissident

    So I'm reading Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being at the moment, and I just had to share a few of the passages that stood out to me today. I would like to preface all of this by saying that I am not calling anyone a communist, ok? The reason I included some background and history is so the passages from the book will not be out of context and cause misinterpretation. I wanted to start this thread to see what everyone thought of the two following passages, and what relevance, if any, they felt they might have to the JW's and religion in general. The comments in red are the ones that jumped out at me.

    Brief backstory - Tomas, one of the main characters, is a Czech citizen living in Prague before and during the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1968. Tomas is a surgeon and outspoken intellectual.

    ---(Narration) "Anyone who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals is overlooking a basic truth: the criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise. They defended that road so valiantly that they were forced to execute many people. Later it became clear that there was no paradise, that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers." --pp. 176


    (The following passage takes place after the Russian occupation, and refers to a letter, published in a widely circulated reformist Czech newspaper, that Tomas had written prior to the occupation, in which he harshly criticized the non-reformist element of the communist government. Tomas has been approached by the chief surgeon of his hospital and told that in order to keep his job he must write a letter retracting his statements that were published before the occupation.) (For more on the history of the Czech republic during this time, go here.)

    ---'The chief surgeon went on: "The pressure to make public retractions of past statements-there's something medieval about it. What does it mean, anyway, to 'retract' what you've said? How can anyone state categorically that a thought he once had is no longer valid? In modern times an idea can be refuted, yes, but not retracted. And since to retract an idea is impossible, merely verbal, formal sorcery, I see no reason why you shouldn't do as they wish. In a society run by terror, no statements whatsoever can be taken seriously. They are all forced, and it is the duty of every honest man to ignore them. Let me conclude by saying that it is in my interest and in your patients' interest that you stay on here with us."
    "You're right, I'm sure," said Tomas, looking very unhappy.

    "But?" The chief surgeon was trying to guess his train of thought.

    "I'm afraid I'd be ashamed."

    "Ashamed! You mean to say you hold your colleagues in such high esteem that you care what they think?"

    "No, I don't hold them in high esteem," said Tomas.

    "Oh, by the way," the chief surgeon added, "you won't have to make a public statement. I have their assurance. They're bureaucrats. All they need is a note in their files to the effect that you've nothing against the regime. Then if someone comes and attacks them for letting you work at the hospital, they're covered. They've given me their word that anything you say will remain between you and them. They have no intention of publishing a word of it."
    "Give me a week to think it over," said Tomas, and there the matter rested.

  • tijkmo

    kept meaning to see this movie

    the expression itself is a classic

    i have often related to it

    not so much today

  • hamsterbait

    I just felt the message of futility and meaninglessness in the story and ended up depressed for a week.

    The death at the end in a riot, for what?

    Even the sexy bits were yucky. "so**ing *unt*" and other edifying things.


  • Pistoff

    Repressive idealogies share so much; revisionism is just one, eh?


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