75 Great Quotes By Nikos Kazantzakis, The Author Of The Last Temptation Of Christ
Philosopher and Writer
Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer who is renowned for his novels, travelogues and plays. He is regarded as one of the greatest literary personalities in Modern Greek literature. Kazantzakis attended the University of Athens, where he studied law and then went on to study at the famous Sorbonne in Paris, from where he was awarded his doctorate in philosophy in 1909. However, it was as a novelist that he became a global star and according to many; he was deeply influenced by the work of Freidrich Nietzche. Some of his most well-known works include, ‘Zorba the Greek’, ‘Captain Michalis’, ‘Christ Recrucified’, ‘Report to Greco’, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ and ‘The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel’ among others. Jesus Christ became a recurring theme in many of his works. Kazantzakis’ work was widely translated and his writings were nominated for the ‘Nobel Prize in Literature’ a staggering 9 times but he did not win the big prize. We bring to you a treasure trove of quotes and thoughts that have been excerpted from his novels, books, plays and writings. Here is a collection of some of the best quotes from Nikos Kazantzakis’s life and works.
I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else. I hope nothing. I fear nothing. I am free. True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their
own. God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises. If a woman sleeps alone it puts a shame on all men. God has a very big heart, but there is one sin He will not forgive. If a woman calls a man to her bed and he will not go. A man needs a little madness, or else... he never dares cut the rope and be free. Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality. You can knock on a deaf man's door forever. The only thing I know is this: I am full of wounds and still standing on my feet. I said to the almond tree, 'Sister, speak to me of God.' And the almond tree blossomed. Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble. You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go. Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea. Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all … is not to have one. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm. The highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe! All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven't the time to write, and all those who have the time don't live them! D'you see? We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life. You have everything but one thing: madness. A man needs a little madness or else - he never dares cut the rope and be free. Let your youth have free reign, it won't come again, so be bold and no repenting. Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels. What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams. When everyone drowns and I'm the only one to escape, God is protecting me. When everyone else is saved and I'm the only one to drown, God is protecting me then too. Beauty is merciless. You do not look at it, it looks at you and does not forgive. When I encounter a sunrise, a painting, a woman, or an idea that makes my heart bound like a young calf, then I know I am standing in front of happiness. Man is able, and has the duty, to reach the furthest point on the road he has chosen. Only by means of hope can we attain what is beyond hope. My principle anguish and the source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh. Only one woman exists in this world, one woman with countless faces. My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry. Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all, in my view, is not to have one. If I were fire, I would burn; if I were a woodcutter, I would strike. But I am a heart, and I love. The sole way to save oneself is to save others. Or to struggle to save others -even that is sufficient. There is only one sin god will not forgive Boss, and that is to deny a woman who is in wanting ~ Zorba Throughout my life my greatest benefactors have been my travels and my dreams. Very few men, living or dead, have helped me in my struggles. How could I, who loved life so intensely, have let myself be entangled for so long in that balderdash of books and paper blackened with ink! Let people be, boss; don't open their eyes. And supposing you did, what'd they see? Their misery! Leave their eyes closed, boss, and let them go on dreaming! The truth is that we all are one, that all of us together create god, that god is not man's ancestor, but his descendant. So few in reality are the true necessities of man Freedom was my first great desire. The second, which remains hidden within me to this day, tormenting me, was the desire for sanctity. Hero together with saint: such is mankind's supreme model. The human soul is heavy, clumsy, held in the mud of the flesh. Its perceptions are still coarse and brutish. It can divine nothing clearly, nothing with certainty. Life on earth means: the sprouting of wings. Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own. Life's true face is the skull. When you've made up your mind, no use lagging behind, go ahead and no relenting,
Let your youth have free reign, it won't come again, so be bold and no repenting. Never in my life have I feared death as much as I feared that resurrection. I knew that over and above the truth, there exists another duty which is much more important and much more human. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been. If the soul within us does not change, Judas, the world outside us will never change. The enemy is within, the Romans are within, salvation starts from within! Happy the youth who believes that his duty is to remake the world and bring it more in accord with virtue and justice, more in accord with his own heart. Woe to whoever commences his life without lunacy. Beauty always had a purpose: to be of service to life. Luck is blind, they say. It can’t see where it’s going and keeps running into people…and the people it knocks into we call lucky! Well, to hell with luck if it's like that, I say! The doors of heaven and hell are adjacent and identical. A prophet is the one who, when everyone else despairs, hopes. And when everyone else hopes, he despairs. You’ll ask me why. It’s because he has mastered the Great Secret: that the Wheel turns. In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can. I an not tired, but the night is coming. Love’s feet are always pleased to step on ashes. Overdraw me Lord, and who cares if I break! Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and others, I’m told, into God.” - Zorba. Discipline is the highest of all virtues. Only so may strength and desire be counterbalanced and the endeavors of man bear fruit. We have but a single moment at our disposal. Let us transform that moment into eternity. No other form of immortality exists Who knows, perhaps God is simply the search for God. Never in my life had I felt so tangibly and with such astonishment that hate, by passing successively through comprehension, mercy, and sympathy, can be transformed into love. My son, I carry on as if I should never die.' I replied: 'And I carry on as
if I was going to die any minute. —I hope you don't mind my saying so, boss, but I don't think your brain is quite formed yet. How old are you?
—Then it never will be. What a miracle life is and how alike are all souls when they send their roots down deep and meet and are one!
The great difference between us is this: you believe you have found salvation, and believing this, you are saved; I believe that salvation doesn’t exist, and believing this, I am saved.
But then I was young, and to be young means to undertake to demolish the world and to have the gall to wish to erect a new and better one in its place.
God turned his face the other way, and the earth was in darkness. "An eclipse of God... an eclipse of God
Madness, Brother Masseo, is the salt which prevents good sense from rotting.
It is impossible for me to remember how many days or weeks went by in this way. Time is round, and it rolls quickly.
Confucius says: 'Many seek happiness higher than man; others beneath him. But happiness is the
same height as man.' That is true. So there must be a happiness to suit every man's stature. I'm fighting to save myself, and save myself, I will." Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ