Monday, November 15, 2010

Kundera Essay

Milan Kundera asserts a clear distinction in Testaments Betrayed; private and public life are “two essentially different worlds.” This statement is undeniably accurate. Milan then continues to express that people or groups who intentionally reveal someone's private life are “criminals.” These people who expose the private lives of others, in my opinion, are more than “curtain rippers,” they are hypocrites.
The aspects of life that society and culture have tabooed, one will store in their private life. This is, of course, with the intention to conceal these aspects from others. If this private life is revealed, there is a possibility that reputation and status may be lost from those under their power or authority.
The innate nature of the heart leads to private decisions, whereas societal and cultural expectations heavily influence public decisions. Humans are more cautious about public decisions because their reputation is at stake. Private decisions, on the other hand, can only put a reputation on the line if it is revealed.
Important figures or people of power and authority, respect and trust, stardom and fame, must be selective and aware of their private decisions in order to always maintain credibility. It is better that one matches their private life closely to their public life to eliminate any doubt of false credibility. When President Carter was asked if had ever “lusted,” he replied that he had “looked upon many women with lust.” Many people praised Carter for his honesty. Carter had exposed his private life intentionally, and because of this, many still approved of him. His private life closely matched his public life. Ghandi once said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."By this he meant that many people publicly act Christian, but do not privately act Christian. He likes Christ because Jesus did both.
Many humans crave scandalous items. Magazines such as “People” make millions annually. There will always be groups revealing the private lives of those who are held to high standards in society. These groups who expose the lives of others, are never themselves exposed. If “People” magazine revealed the private lives of “curtain rippers,” there would also be scandals and flaws in their lives. When the “curtain rippers” expose the private life of Tiger Woods, all of the blame, fault, and penalty is on his. No one thinks twice about the selfish people who intend to ruin his fame and career. A well known verse from the Bible, Matthew 7:5, applies to these “curtain rippers,” “You hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; and then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.” (NIV)
Public and private life are two different worlds, but ideally should be a reflection of each other to create an accurate portrayal of one's true self. In a culture filled with gossip and cultural, curtains may be ripped down, and private lives may be revealed. Even though the blame will fall on the person left cold and exposed, the true criminal will still be holding the curtain.

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