What I Gathered from Reading “The Joke”

Czechoslovakian literature makes for chin-rubbing life lessons

I have recently finished reading The Joke by Milan Kundera. I read it because I was wondering what the song Same Bastards by Shinobu was going on about, and I’m glad I heeded my curiosity, as it was a worthy read. I draw attention to one paragraph, which I think sums up the human condition in a rather tasty little morsel.

For all my scepticism, I had clung to a few superstitions – the strange conviction, for example, that everything in life that happens to me has a sense beyond itself, means something, that life in its day-to-day events speaks to us about itself, that it gradually reveals a secret, that it takes the form of a rebus whose message must be deciphered, that the stories we live in life comprise the mythology of our lives and in that mythology lies the key to truth and mystery. Is it all an illusion? Possibly, even probably, but I can’t seem to rid myself of the need to decipher my life continually.

The Joke, Part 5, Chapter 1, by Milan Kindera

The Joke, by Milan Kundera