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The Unbearable Lightness of Being, or: Problematising the Ethical

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The problem of time has captivated the attention of philosophers, theologians and poets for centuries. In the following article the author addresses the issue of time using the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera as the lens through which to view humanity's experience of time and the variety of options available for making sense out of time. The central argument of the article is explore how nihilism as portrayed through the two central characters of Kundera's novel, Tomas and Tereza, provides a unique dilemma for making sense of one's life as a whole. In explicating this aporia the article reflects on the work of Augustine, Karl Barth and Oliver O'Donovan as well as taking a fresh look at the work of Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. In addition, the poetry of T.S. Elliott is also examined as it too reflects a Christian attempt to make meaningful what otherwise appears as something destructive of meaning, namely, the cruel contingency of time itself. If time is a creation of God and is good then what are we to make of Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being?

10.1163/157430106778540660
/content/journals/10.1163/157430106778540660
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/content/journals/10.1163/157430106778540660
2006-09-01
2016-09-30

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