Admiration or Pleasure? Appearance or Reality?
In his novel, Immortality, Milan Kundera poses an interesting question: Would you rather sleep secretly with Rita Hayworth or Greta Garbo, or show yourself with her in public?
He says: “The results are quite clear in advance: everyone, including the worst no-hopers, would maintain that they would rather sleep with her. Because all of them would want to appear to themselves, to their wives and even to the bald official conducting the poll as hedonists. This however is a self-delusion. Their comedy act. Nowadays hedonists no longer exist… No matter what they say, if they had a real choice to make, all of them, I repeat, all of them would prefer to stroll with her down the avenue. Because all of them are eager for admiration and not for pleasure. For appearance and not for reality”
What do you think of Kundera’s Theory? Do you agree?
“If a story seems too random, or perhaps too brilliant, for a “madman” to have conceived of it himself, then consider that the “author” might be reality and the “madman” just the reader. After all, only reality can escape the limits of our imagination.”
From Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen