Sunday, February 27, 2005

Post Number Five: The Lightness of Being Is Less Bearable Than Many Believe

This is my last post for this weekend and I would like to dedicate it to the Unbearable Lightness of Being once more. Compared to my previous posts, this one will differ in that it won't be long. To achieve its purpose, in fact, it will require only a few words. So, I will surprise my reader making an attempt to be coincise.

I am very sensitive to lightness, and therefore perceive it easily. Most people in the world are accustomed to it, they don't notice it. But it's there nonetheless and it causes uneasiness. We live in a world where nothing apparently really matters. Nobody really cares about great political ideals, deep ethical values, philosophy, or the inner spiritual beacon of Religion (as opposed to the superficial set of dogmata displayed by most established Churches, especially Christian). "Get a life", "Have fun", "You think too much" are very common statements in our world. In one of my future posts I will talk about a girl that was the ultimate embodiment of lightness, and sentences like that were the norm in her mouth. Nothing really matters. It's the way capitalistic/consumistic society is meant to be. You think that happiness will be achieved through the possess of a specific item, gadget, or other object you have seen on advertising, or by having a nice, sexy body with flat abs. You probably believe that thinking too much is dangerous, and that it's better to let the loud thumps of that trendy disco dumbfold your mind and daze you. Perhaps it's better to get a pill of ecstasy or two, dance the whole night, have sex with someone you don't know that you picked up at the disco and forget about the world. Nothing, really, matters.

But this lack of meaning, this superficiality, this absence of importance, will crush you. Human beings have innate instinct that calls for a meaning. Sooner or later, whether we are aware of it or not, this great void around us will beg for something to fill it up. You will realize that although you got a nice job, you are making money and you can buy the gadgets you like, and you go to the disco every night, nonetheless you are not satisfied. Something will still be missing. Some people don't know what it is, they just know that something's wrong. They turn to superstitions, they believe aliens are out there to abduct us, they think crystals harness great powers; or they turn to religion (without the capital R), and stick to dogmata that are as empty as the void they are unconsciously trying to fill in. It is a destiny to which most of the modern generation is condemned.
I think I have been lucky to realize what caused my uneasiness. There are still many things that do not really matter, and it's good they exist, as long as I know that they are irrelevant. Most of what we have learnt to like is ephemeral, irrelevant. Unimportant. It doesn't fill the void you feel. You will always have that annoying impression that something is missing.
Light things are very hard to bear. Emptiness is vain. Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, "Emptiness of Emptiness and Everything is Emptiness".
There are things that matter because they are heavy. They are dense with meaning. People fought for them, died for them. There are words that evoke millennia of civilization, concepts that are worth pondering, thinking. Democracy, Ethics, Freedom, Art, Literature, Idealism, Philosophy, Tradition, Culture. The last one, Culture, is the word that sums them all up. It doesn't matter where your brain will find the most intriguing spark. What matters is that these things really mean something. They are the contrary of our civilization. They have been with us throughout our history, but now they are perceived as a burden. They aren't a burden, if not in the sense that they are heavy. They actually are what we are missing. They are that Weight that would make the Lightness of Being a bit more tolerable. They have been removed because they are disliked by those in charge, but they have left an emptiness that we humans struggle to fill, and there is nothing, in the ephemeral nature of our world, that can replace them. "Getting a life" in an world of vain entertainment can be really, really not fun any more.