Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer, celebrated for his novels, which include Zorba the Greek, Christ Recrucified, Captain Michalis, and The Last Temptation of Christ. He also wrote plays, travel books, memoirs and philosophical essays. Universally recognised as a giant of modern Greek literature, Kazantzakis was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years. His fame was further spread in the English speaking world by cinematic adaptations of Zorba the Greek (1964) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
In Order To Succeed, We Must First Believe That We Can.
There Is Only One Woman In The World. One Woman, With Many Faces.
My Principal Anguish, And The Wellspring Of All My Joys And Sorrows, Has Been The Incessant Merciless Battle Between The Spirit And The Flesh.
May God Forgive Me, But The Letters Of The Alphabet Frighten Me Terribly. They Are Sly, Shameless Demons - And Dangerous! You Open The Inkwell, Release Them; They Run Off - And How Will You Ever Get Control Of Them Again!
Life Is Trouble. Only Death Is Not. To Be Alive Is To Unfasten Your Belt And Look For A Fight.
I Said To The Almond Tree, 'Friend, Speak To Me Of God,' And The Almond Tree Blossomed.
Every Perfect Traveler Always Creates The Country Where He Travels.
One Of Man's Greatest Obligations Is Anger.
The Nonexistent Is Whatever We Have Not Sufficiently Desired.
Let Your Youth Have Free Reign. It Won't Come Again, So Be Bold, And No Repenting.
I Knew That No Matter What Door You Knock On In A Cretan Village, It Will Be Opened For You. A Meal Will Be Served In Your Honor, And You Will Sleep Between The Best Sheets In The House. In Crete, The Stranger Is Still The Unknown God. Before Him, All Doors And All Hearts Are Opened.
Behind Each Woman Rises The Austere, Sacred And Mysterious Face Of Aphrodite.
I Fight To Embrace The Entire Circle Of Human Activity To The Full Extent Of My Ability.
Since We Cannot Change Reality, Let Us Change The Eyes Which See Reality.
A Weak Soul Does Not Have The Endurance To Resist The Flesh For Very Long. It Grows Heavy, Becomes Flesh Itself, And The Contest Ends. But Among Responsible Men, Men Who Keep Their Eyes Riveted Day And Night Upon The Supreme Duty, The Conflict Between Flesh And Spirit Breaks Out Mercilessly And May Last Until Death.
Life Is A Crusade In The Service Of God. Whether We Wished To Or Not, We Set Out As Crusaders To Free - Not The Holy Sepulcher - But That God Buried In Matter And In Our Souls.
The Masses Do Not See The Sirens. They Do Not Hear Songs In The Air. Blind, Deaf, Stooping, They Pull At Their Oars In The Hold Of The Earth. But The More Select, The Captains, Harken To A Siren Within Them... And Royally Squander Their Lives With Her.
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.
True Teachers 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.
When Everything Goes Wrong, What A Joy To Test Your Soul And See If It Has Endurance And Courage. An Invisible And All-powerful Enemy - Some Call Him God, Others The Devil, Seem To Rush Upon Us To Destroy Us; But We Are Not Destroyed.
I Hope For Nothing. I Fear Nothing. I Am Free.
In Order To Mount To The Cross, The Summit Of Sacrifice, And To God, The Summit Of Immateriality, Christ Passed Through All The Stages Which The Man Who Struggles Passes Through.
Throughout My Life My Greatest Benefactors Have Been My Dreams And My Travels; Very Few Men, Living Or Dead, Have Helped Me In My Struggle.
We Come From A Dark Abyss, We End In A Dark Abyss, And We Call The Luminous Interval Life.
That Part Of Christ's Nature Which Was Profoundly Human Helps Us To Understand Him And Love Him And To Pursue His Passion As Though It Were Our Own. If He Had Not Within Him This Warm Human Element, He Would Never Be Able To Touch Our Hearts With Such Assurance And Tenderness; He Would Not Be Able To Become A Model For Our Lives.
What A Miracle Life Is And How Alike Are All Souls When They Send Their Roots Down Deep And Meet And Are One!
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 Realise - Sometimes With Astonishment - How Happy We Had Been.
God Hates A Half-devil Ten Times More Than An Arch-devil!
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 Humour, And Others, I'm Told, Into God. So There Must Be Three Sorts Of Men.
I Felt Deep Within Me That 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!
My 'Report To Greco' Is Not An Autobiography.
Everything In This World Has A Hidden Meaning.
In Religions Which Have Lost Their Creative Spark, The Gods Eventually Become No More Than Poetic Motifs Or Ornaments For Decorating Human Solitude And Walls.
Happiness Is A Simple Everyday Miracle, Like Water, And We Are Not Aware Of It.
Every Man Is Half God, Half Man; He Is Both Spirit And Flesh. That Is Why The Mystery Of Christ Is Not Simply A Mystery For A Particular Creed: It Is Universal.
Nothing Is Nearer To Us Than Heaven. The Earth Is Beneath Our Feet, And We Tread Upon It, But Heaven Is Within Us.
My Entire Soul Is A Cry, And All My Work Is A Commentary On That Cry.
Beauty Is Merciless. You Do Not Look At It, It Looks At You And Does Not Forgive.
The Real Meaning Of Enlightenment Is To Gaze With Undimmed Eyes On All Darkness.
The Struggle Between God And Man Breaks Out In Everyone, Together With The Longing For Reconciliation... God Does Not Love Weak Souls And Flabby Flesh. The Spirit Desires To Wrestle With Flesh Which Is Strong And Full Of Resistance. It Is A Carnivorous Bird Which Is Incessantly Hungry; It Eats Flesh And, By Assimilating It, Makes It Disappear.
A Person Needs A Little Madness, Or Else They Never Dare Cut The Rope And Be Free.
All My Life, I Struggled To Stretch My Mind To The Breaking Point, Until It Began To Creak, In Order To Create A Great Thought Which Might Be Able To Give A New Meaning To Life, A New Meaning To Death, And To Console Mankind.