Saturday, March 21, 2009

Post 560 : Passages 44 : Milan Kundera, Identity – Being in a Coma & What is it to be dead

Milan Kundera, Identity, Pg. 8

F. was describing the coma that had lasted several days before the doctors had  brought hum back to life :’You know all those accounts by people who’ve survived death: the tunnel with a light at the end of it. The beauty of the beyond drawing them on. Well, I swear to you, there’s no light. And what’s worse, no unconsciousness. You know everything, you hear everything, but they – the doctors – don’t realize it, and they say everything in front of you, even things you shouldn’t hear. That you’re done for. That your brain is finished.’

He was silent for a moment. Then ; ‘I’m not saying my mind was completely clear. I was conscious of everything but slightly distorted, like in a dream. From time to time the dream would turn into a nightmare. Only, in real life, a nightmare is over soon, you start yelling and you wake up, but I couldn’t yell. And that was the worst of it, not being able to yell. Being incapable of yelling in the midst of a nightmare.’

He was silent again. Then: ‘ I never used to be afraid of dying. Now, yes. I can’t shake off the idea that after death you keep being alive. That to be dead is to live an endless nightmare.’

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