189. The unbearable lightness of being

The other night I rewatched the Philip Kaufman movie adaptation of the seminal Milan Kundera novel, a book you should read, if you haven’t, and, at the very least, a movie you should watch. It makes you appreciate how lucky we are to be born, and live, in the social freedoms Western democracies afford us, secure in the protection of the rule of law. This story is a stark warning to those tempted by the easy solutions peddled by autocratic regimes. Tomas, its protagonist, pays a very heavy personal price for trying to defend his intellectual dignity, for refusing to retract an idea expressed. He sacrifices, by not yielding to the system, first his career and, ultimately, his life. Kundera, who grew and lived in an autocratic regime, describes with brutal realism the humiliating choices his protagonist must make to survive. The suffocating, crushing, relentless pressure he is put under is Kafkian in its overwhelming dimension. Be careful of letting the wolf in, tempted by false promises 

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