Milan Kundera

“In the middle of the night, he woke up and realized to his surprise that he had been having one erotic dream after the other. The only one he could recall with any clarity was the last: an enormous naked woman, at least five times his size, floating on her back in a pool, her belly from crotch to navel covered with thick hair. Looking at her from the side of the pool, he was greatly excited. How could he have been excited when his body was debilitated by a gastric disorder? And how could he be excited by the sight of a woman who would have repelled him had he seen her while conscious? He thought: In the clockwork of the head, two cogwheels turn opposite each other. On the one, images; on the other, the body's reactions. The cog carrying the image of a naked woman meshes with the corresponding erection-command cog. But when, for one reason or another, the wheels go out of phase and the excitement cog meshes with a cog bearing the image of a swallow in flight, the penis rises at the sight of a swallow. Moreover, a study by one of Tomas's colleagues, a specialist in human sleep, claimed that during any kind of dream men have erections, which means that the link between erections and naked women is only one of a thousand ways the Creator can set the clockwork moving in a man's head. And what has love in common with all this? Nothing. If a cogwheel in Tomas's head goes out of phase and he is excited by seeing a swallow, it has absolutely no effect on his love for Tereza. If excitement is a mechanism our Creator uses for His own amusement, love is something that belongs to us alone and enables us to flee the Creator. Love is our freedom. Love lies beyond Es muss sein! Though that is not entirely true. Even if love is something other than a clockwork of sex that the Creator uses for His own amusement, it is still attached to it. It is attached to it like a tender naked woman to the pendulum of an enormous clock. Thomas thought: Attaching love to sex is one of the most bizarre ideas the Creator ever had. He also thought: One way of saving love from the stupidity of sex would be to set the clockwork in our head in such a way as to excite us at the sight of a swallow. And with that sweet thought he started dozing off. But on the very threshold of sleep, in the no-man's-land of muddled concepts, he was suddenly certain he had just discovered the solution to all riddles, the key to all mysteries, a new utopia, a paradise: a world where man is excited by seeing a swallow and Tomas can love Tereza without being disturbed by the aggressive stupidity of sex.”


Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
tags: love, sex
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The Unbearable Lightness of Being The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
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