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The Unbearable Lightness of Being (part 2 chapter 17)

2006-08-22 20:21

  17

  Anyone whose goal is something higher must expect some day to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? Then why do we feel it even when the observation tower comes equipped with a sturdy handrail? No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.

  The naked women marching around the swimming pool, the corpses in the hearse rejoicing that she, too, was dead- these were the down below she had feared and fled once before but which mysteriously beckoned her. These were her vertigo: she heard a sweet (almost joyous) summons to renounce her fate and soul. The solidarity of the soulless calling her. And in times of weakness, she was ready to heed the call and return to her mother. She was ready to dismiss the crew of her soul from the deck of her body; ready to descend to a place among her mother's friends and laugh when one of them broke wind noisily; ready to march around the pool naked with them and sing.

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