Last week I travelled to England to sort out our self-storage; a big sea container just outside the town of Wellington. Until a few decades ago the site was a flourishing farm: a house, some sheds and fields of crops and cattle. It has since been turned into a little industrial estate. Today’s cash-cows are one hundred brand new shipping containers. They arrived chock-full of produce, Made in China, and are unlikely to ever ship anything back. So, bought at a bargain, the containers now hold books, clothes, tools, couches, kitchens, furnishings of offices and entire households.
While digging our goldmine of long-forgotten treasures, I unpacked one of my favourite books: Milan Kundera’s ‘The unbearable lightness of being’.
Kundera’s classic beautifully describes the human paradox of weight and lightness. We know that we are transient, on earth as human being only for a little moment in time. Part of a never-ending process of creation, participants in the enormous unfolding universe. But at the same time we long for a sense of importance, a significant role in the grand scheme of things. We wish to be visible, to be heard, read, listened to, recognized. We have a desire to shape today, the future and history. To be remembered, to show our power and possessions. We long to have weight.