53. a show of feeling



“Homo Sentimentalis cannot be defined as a man with feelings (for we all have feelings), but as a man who has raised feelings to a category of value. As soon as feelings are seen as a value, everyone wants to feel; and because we all like to pride ourselves on our values, we have a tendency to show off our feelings…

.. No one revealed Homo Sentimentalis as lucidly as Cervantes. Don Quixote decides to love a certain lady named Dulcinea, in spite of the fact that he hardly knows her. In chapter twenty-five of book one, he leaves with Sancho for the remote mountains, where he wishes to demonstrate to him the greatness of his passion. But how to show someone else that your soul is on fire? Especially to someone as dull and naive as Sancho? and so when they find themselves on a mountain path, Don quixote strips off all his clothes except for his shirt, and to demonstrate to his servant the immensity of his passion he proceeds to turn somersaults. Each time he is upside down, his search slides down to his shoulders and sancho gets a glimpse of his sex. the sight of the knight’s small virginal member is so comically sad, so heart-rending, that sancho, in spite of his callous heart, cannot bear to look at it any longer, mounts rosinante and gallops off…

..it is part of the definition of feeling that it is born in us without our will, often against our will. As soon as we want to feel (decide to feel, just as Don Quixote decides to love dulcinea), feeling is no longer feeling but an imitation of feeling, a show of feeling. This is commonly called hysteria. That’s why Homo Sentimentalis (a person who has raised feelings to a value) is in reality identical to Homo Hystericus..”

-Kundera, “immortality”


5 Responses to “53. a show of feeling”

  1. intriguing…i see what he means.

  2. 2 Joshua


  3. mark gp papers doesn’t exempt you from blogging, mr tee.

  4. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Unnilquadium!!!

  5. 5 Anthony

    I haven’t commented on your blog for a very long time. I don’t normally look at people’s blogs, but yours is worth looking at. And yes, I need to stop reading entertainment, infotainment, nonfictiontainment and more profound texts like Kundera’s. Anyway, remember Gavin’s Unbearable Lightness of Being test.

    We should meet up before you fly away, away to USA. Then I will have to catch you one year later, over in a strange foreign land familiar to us all.

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