My latest read is the Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. My first read from him is the Unbearable Lightness of Being and despite of major confusion caused by the alternately changing set-up of place and characters considering that there are just four major parts. I got lost with his style but still managed to buy two more of his works when sheer luck brought me on book sale and, I’ve decided to buy and give it a try again so I can overcome my disappointment.
Milan Kundera’s style in writing is romantic but (at least based on my observation) will always have something to do with politics. I guess because during his time was a war era with full of injustice and struggle for peace.
Anyway, this post is about the Book of Laughter and Forgetting. The first quote that really struck me is this, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” After having read that, I immediately called my friend and we had a 10 minute conversation with that one line. The line is such a very simple saying but it’s very wise words to be uttered. At least based on my opinion, he’s saying that the hunger of men for power and the memory to be forgotten are inevitable. Funny thing is most politicians are hungry for power and most of our voters are having problems with their memories.
You see in the Philippines doing something wrong and being in a public service wouldn’t be impossible thing. I guess I have to blame our ever forgiving hearts. I don’t really want to talk about politics. It is one of the reasons why I don’t read the newspapers. Ironically, I have always been fascinated with history and as a subject in the school it is one of my strongest subjects. But, dealing with the current issues and events is really something. I refuse to listen and be active on such matters.
But that’s just one quote here’s another, “We must never allow the future to be weighed down by memory. For children have no past, and that is the whole secret of the magical innocence of their smiles.” This is the part that I really liked from the book. It has lines that are so simple yet when you try to analyze and share it with others, you feel that there’s a lot from where you’re getting it.
Basically, the book is trying to tell its reader that we should not be stopped by our memories. Funny thing is it’s like it’s telling me that I shouldn’t be amazed or feel disgusted with how forgiving our hearts as Filipinos when we try to vote. Yes, some politicians do commit mistakes and they still win and take office. Maybe, what it’s trying to tell us is to give people a chance at the very least. Redemption is something that we should give to people especially if they are really sincere.
You see today, while I am writing this, I just realized that this book is really something that I can relate to especially right now. Aside from the fact that I’d like to forget something and laugh it off, I guess I need to be reminded of the fact there are some memories we have that we need to let go of to see and be where we need to be.
This may sound a little deep and I can’t even believe I’m writing this. Haha!
Lastly, Milan also would like us to know that when people die it’s not the future that we lose but on the contrary it is the past that we are losing. It is where “the struggle of memory against forgetting” makes sense.
What he’s trying to say is that we shouldn’t put too much worry on losing our future but we should try more to leave a legacy so we can be remembered. So when we leave our imprints behind and the people we know are all gone, our memories will go against forgetting.