His father, Mario, was a tropical agronomist and botanist who also taught agriculture and floriculture. In an autobiographical essay, Italo Calvino explained that his father "had been in his youth an anarchist, a follower of Kropotkin and then a Socialist Reformist". Born into a secular family, Eva was a pacifist educated in the "religion of civic duty and science". On this small working farm set in the hills behind Sanremo, Mario pioneered in the cultivation of then exotic fruits such as avocado and grapefruit , eventually obtaining an entry in the Dizionario biografico degli italiani for his achievements.
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Eternal Return dictates that all things in existence recur over and over again for all eternity. This is to say that human history is a preset circle without progress, the same events arising perpetually and doomed never to alter or to improve. Existence is thus weighty because it stands fixed in an infinite cycle. This fact prevents one from believing things to be fleeting and worthless.
Something which does not forever recur has its brief existence, and, once it is complete, the universe goes on existing, utterly indifferent to the completed phenomenon. Since decisions do not matter, they are "light": they do not tie us down. However, at the same time, the insignificance of our decisions - our lives, or being - is unbearable. Hence, "the unbearable lightness of being. Weight or lightness? Parmenides posed it in the sixth century BC.
One half of the opposition he called positive light, fineness, warmth, being , the other negative. We might find this division into positive and negative poles simple except for one difficulty: which one is positive, weight or lightness? Parmenides responded that lightness is positive, weight negative.
Kundera then questions "Was he correct or not? Kundera then asks, should one live with weight and duty or with lightness and freedom? Italo Calvino[ edit ] Similarly to Greek philosopher Heraclitus , for Italo Calvino , Lightness is the flexible; the weightless; the mobile; the connective; vectors as distinct from structures.
He saw Lightness as an important aspect of post-modern society and existence that should be celebrated; he, like Heraclitus, never viewed Lightness as negative, indeed he never ascribed any evaluative content to it. Calvino keenly explores the borderline between lightness and the superficial; he posits that a contemplative lightness may make light-heartnedness seem heavy and dim; the pursuit of lightness as a reaction to the dutifulness of life.
It simply communicates something which is only emblematic of lightness. In Six Memos he says that "It is true that software cannot exercise its powers of lightness except through the weight of hardware.
But it is the software that gives the orders, acting on the outside world and on machines that exist only as functions of software and evolve so that they can work out ever more complex programs.
The iron machines still exist, but they obey the orders of weightless bits. This is defined in relation to Pullness or Garima [ disambiguation needed ], which concerns worldly weight and mass. Zen Buddhism teaches that one ought to become as light as being itself.
Lightness is a means of gaining perspective. Lightness is a force that propels. Changing perspective on the matters that weigh a person down is to alleviate the discomfort of that weight. Calvino uses science to bolster his ideas. Lightness is a force that underpins the aspect of life. Calvino also uses the example of a shaman to describe lightness. These concepts are important for Calvino and his literary escapades.
Italo Calvino’s Memo I: Lightness
This does not mean that I consider the virtues of weight any less compelling, but simply that I have more to say about lightness. After forty years of writing fiction, after exploring various roads and making diverse experiments, the time has come for me to look for an overall definition of my work. I would suggest this: my working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language. In this talk I shall try to explain—both to myself and to you—why I have come to consider lightness a value rather than a defect; to indicate the works of the past in which I recognize my ideal of lightness; and to show where I situate this value in the present and how I project it into the future. I will start with the last point.