Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fortuity Re-examined

In continuance with my post before last, I would like to further discuss this matter of FORTUITOUS HAPPENINGS that has been weighing on my mind as of late.

I have been HIGHLY ENAMORED with the idea of finding connections with individuals in a city as vast as CHICAGO, and as I continue to meet and chat with new people, they have only become more abundant. Much of the time not used to speculate about such occurrences has been spent reading, and I recently retrieved Milan Kundera's THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING from the CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY. The novel centers around the relationship of characters TOMAS and TEREZA, who one day met by chance at a cafe and proceeded to date shortly after. KUNDERA narrates the novel in THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT and, about fifty pages into the novel, reveals TEREZA's mental reasonings behind why she pursued TOMAS after serving him in the cafe. Her reasons rely largely on coincidence (Beethoven playing on the radio, the number six being significant to both parties, TOMAS' use of her favorite bench) and KUNDERA addresses the reader about the nature of such chance occurrences. He says that when reading a novel, people have a tendency to write off a story's coincidental happenings as "NOVELISTIC." To this, KUNDERA says

...I am willing to agree [that such events may seem 'novelistic'], but only on condition that you refrain from reading such notions as 'fictive,' 'fabricated,' and 'untrue to life' into the word 'novelistic.' Because human lives are composed in precisely such a fashion.
His idea of the matter is that it would be even more outlandish to imagine a life without any fortuitous events like those I have previously addressed.

Upon my intial reading of this passage I did not really think too much of it (maybe because I wanted my life to have some incredible string of interconnected events that would provide me with some larger message), but after a second reading and consideration, I think KUNDERA is on to something. In the same passage he explains that fortuities probably happen much more than we even notice and that the novel should not be chided for utilizing them, but "...it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives himself of a dimension of beauty."

Then it hit me: the fact that I am even reading these words at such a CRUCIAL POINT IN MY LIFE is a coincidence (when I was very close to picking up Zadie Smith's WHITE TEETH in this book's stead) that I almost missed! I am part of the problem!

KUNDERA states that
Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurence... into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual's life.
So, the AFOREMENTIONED FORTUITOUS OCCURRENCES and the ones to come need to just be observed and taken for what they are and the fact that I am even noticing them is a good sign. Thankyou, Mr. Kundera, for putting these AMBIGUOUS EVENTS into perspective for me.

In other news: DENNIS WILSON's reissued PACIFIC OCEAN BLUE finally came out today and when I went to the record store to pick it up, I was smacked in the face with a $30 price tag! What kind of person takes a highly sought-after album, waits until it is almost impossible to find, reissues it and adds so much bonus material that it costs an arm and a leg to obtain??? More information on this EVIL SCHEME soon.


Bryce said...

i think this is your best post to date. i have experienced several coincidences that, while not unbelievable, have caused a world of difference in the past week of my life. i'll mention them in my next letter.

p.s. i'm buying that dennis wilson is you don't.

Lorna said...

Serendipity is all around us, just reach out and grab it. Fancy meeting you on an EL platform because your friends were engaging in a behavior that I enjoyed once with my brother on the same El Stop... Illegally smoking cigarettes. I recalled joy and had to share it, and have since been able to continue to spread even more joy with some remarkable fellows.

Serendipity! Some of my best friends are "oopsie" babies, which I also see as fortuitous... Can I imagine my life without these surprise people? Absolutely not, just as Lori and I have had a hard time picturing this summer without this stumbled-upon prize of friendship.