Nikos Kazantzakis quotes

Nikos Kazantzakis photo
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Nikos Kazantzakis

Birthdate: 18. February 1883
Date of death: 26. October 1957
Other names: ნიკოს კაზანძაკისი, نیکوس کازانتزاکس

Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer. Widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years.

Kazantzakis' novels included Zorba the Greek , Christ Recrucified , Captain Michalis , and The Last Temptation of Christ . He also wrote plays, travel books, memoirs and philosophical essays such as The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises. His fame spread in the English-speaking world due to cinematic adaptations of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ .

Works

The Saviors of God
Nikos Kazantzakis
Report to Greco
Report to Greco
Nikos Kazantzakis
Zorba the Greek
Zorba the Greek
Nikos Kazantzakis

„What is our duty? To struggle so that a small flower may blossom from the dunghill of our flesh and mind.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: Humanity is such a lump of mud, each one of us is such a lump of mud. What is our duty? To struggle so that a small flower may blossom from the dunghill of our flesh and mind.
Out of things and flesh, out of hunger, out of fear, out of virtue and sin, struggle continually to create God.

„Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it we do suddenly realize — sometimes with astonishment — how happy we had been.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book Zorba the Greek

Source: Zorba the Greek (1946), Ch. 6
Context: While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it we do suddenly realize — sometimes with astonishment — how happy we had been.

„Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all … is not to have one.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book Zorba the Greek

Variant: Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all, in my view, is not to have one.
Source: Zorba the Greek

„If you are a man of learning, fight in the skull, kill ideas and create new ones.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: If you are a man of learning, fight in the skull, kill ideas and create new ones. God hides in every idea as in every cell of flesh. Smash the idea, set him free! Give him another, a more spacious idea in which to dwell.

„I am an improvised bridge, and when Someone passes over me, I crumble away behind Him.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: I am not alone in my fear, nor alone in my hope, nor alone in my shouting. A tremendous host, an onrush of the Universe fears, hopes, and shouts with me.
I am an improvised bridge, and when Someone passes over me, I crumble away behind Him.

„All the concentrated agony of the Universe bursts out in every living thing.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: The wife of my God is matter; they wrestle with each other, they laugh and weep, they cry out in the nuptial bed of flesh.
They spawn and are dismembered. They fill sea, land, and air with species of plants, animals, men, and spirits. This primordial pair embraces, is dismembered, and multiplies in every living creature.
All the concentrated agony of the Universe bursts out in every living thing. God is imperiled in the sweet ecstasy and bitterness of flesh.
But he shakes himself free, he leaps out of brains and loins, then clings to new brains and new loins until the struggle for liberation again breaks out from the beginning.

„With clarity and quiet, I look upon the world and say: All that I see, hear, taste, smell, and touch are the creations of my mind.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: With clarity and quiet, I look upon the world and say: All that I see, hear, taste, smell, and touch are the creations of my mind.
The sun comes up and the sun goes down in my skull. Out of one of my temples the sun rises, and into the other the sun sets.
The stars shine in my brain; ideas, men, animals browse in my temporal head; songs and weeping fill the twisted shells of my ears and storm the air for a moment.

„The more devils we have within us, the more chance we have to form angels.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Last Temptation of Christ

Source: The Last Temptation of Christ (1951), Ch. 10

„Die every day. Be born every day. Deny everything you have every day. The superior virtue is not to be free but to fight for freedom.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: God cries to my heart: "Save me!"
God cries to men, to animals, to plants, to matter: "Save me!"
Listen to your heart and follow him. Shatter your body and awake: We are all one.
Love man because you are he.
Love animals and plants because you were they, and now they follow you like faithful co-workers and slaves.
Love your body; only with it may you fight on this earth and turn matter into spirit.
Love matter. God clings to it tooth and nail, and fights. Fight with him.
Die every day. Be born every day. Deny everything you have every day. The superior virtue is not to be free but to fight for freedom.
Do not condescend to ask: "Shall we conquer? Shall we be conquered?" Fight on!

„Enlighten the dark blood of your ancestors, shape their cries into speech, purify their will, widen their narrow, unmerciful brows.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: Enlighten the dark blood of your ancestors, shape their cries into speech, purify their will, widen their narrow, unmerciful brows. This is your second duty.
For you are not only a slave. As soon as you were born, a new possibility was born with you, a free heartbeat stormed through the great sunless heart of your race.

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