Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Contrary to what most people think, making a decision is one of the easiest decisions in the world, as is more than proved by the fact that we make decision upon decision throughout the day, there, however, we run straight into the heart of the matter, for these decisions come to us afterward with their particular little problems, or to make ourselves quite clear, with their right edges needing to be smoothed, the first of these problems being our capacity for sticking to a decision and the second our willingness to follow through it.

It's easier to touch upon the larger themes of Double than the plot and characters. If I tried to explain the layers of the plot, in my amateur methods, I'd probably give too many hints and uncover the Saramago-ness of it all.

I guess I have more questions than answers after reading this book and I know that's not always a bad thing. Saramago prods us to think about life in ways that many of us could never fathom. Reality doesn't necessarily have layers as some artists argue, but according to my reading of Saramago, reality can be altered with our slightest actions. I like this concept. Giving humans the knowledge and will to change their lives is godly and Saramago doesn't mind touching upon humans' idea of what is natural. Is is it natural to have an exact duplicate of ourselves? Is it natural to accept things just because they've always been so? Is it natural to kill and rape just because we can? Who creates these laws and norms? Can they be changed? Should they be changed?

Double was a second tier book, not Saramago's finest. Yet, ideas and words flow from him as if from another life source. I don't know if Saramago is our conscience or the devil in us, but he stimulates me. What more can you ask from literature?

6 comments:

Dorothy W. said...

Hmmm -- I like the idea of being able to change reality and that our decisions are meaningful ones, but at the same time, I'm not sure that I believe in free will. Maybe free will is a necessary illusion. We need to feel like we can change things.

Martha said...

I am plagued by the constant decisions I have to make in my life, and the outcome of the bad, weak decisions I make simply because I'm sick of being responsible for them. But they always have consequences, whether they are good or bad.

M. Barresi said...

Dorothy, if there's anything I believe in, it's free will. I don't believe in much else in life, but there are always choices to make and since I don't believe in God, these decisions are mine and mine alone and like Martha wrote, they always have consequences.

I haven't always believed in free will, but I don't see it as an illusion (that to me is religion.) Our decisions and choices in life may be 'one or the other' but it's a decision either way.

Dorothy, I like the idea about free will being an illusion, but whose illusion?

Martha, but can't bad decisions possibly lead to future great decisions?

Dorothy W. said...

By chance, I noticed a post over at litkicks.com about William James that describes his view on free will, which is quite interesting.

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