A slave's soul has no worth, my brothers; it lacks strength to tread on this great earth with gallantry and freedom. I pity the poor slaves, they're nought but airy mist, a light breeze scatters them, a fragrance knocks them down; it's only just they crawl on the earth on hands and knees. Today I'll write a hymn to God and pray for this great grace.
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The struggle between God and man breaks out in everyone, together with the longing for reconciliation. Most often this struggle is unconscious and short-lived. 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.
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I say one thing, you write another, and those who read you understand still something else! I say: cross, death, kingdom of heaven, God...and what do you understand? Each of you attaches his own suffering, interests and desires to each of these sacred words, and my words disappear, my soul is lost. I can't stand it any longer!
You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary-it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me." Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, "If you had to betray your master, would you do it?" Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, "No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.
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Oh, how crafty of religion, I cried out indignantly, to transplant rewards and punishments into a future life in order to comfort cowards and the enslaved and aggrieved, enabling them to bow their necks patiently before their masters, and to endure this earthly life without groaning (the only life of which we can be sure)!
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I did not know what I was going to do with my life; before anything else I wanted to find an answer, my answer, to the timeless questions, and then after that I would decide what I would become. If I did not begin by discovering what was the grand purpose of life on earth, I said to myself, how would I be able to discover the purpose of my tiny ephemeral life? And if I did not give my life a purpose, how would I be able to engage in action? I was not interested in finding what life's purpose was objectively - this, I divined, was impossible and futile - but simply what purpose I, of my own free will, could give it in accord with my spiritual and intellectual needs. Whether or not this purpose was the true one did not, at that time, have any great significance for me. The important thing was that I should find (should create) a purpose congruent with my own self, and thus, by following it, reel out my particular desires and abilities to the furthest possible limit. For then at last I would be collaborating harmoniously with the totality of the universe.
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I felt sorry for the inhabitants and went into the forest to admonish the wolf in God's name not to eat any more sheep. I called him, he came-and do you know what his answer was? 'Francis, Francis, ' he said, 'do not destroy God's prescribed order. The sheep feeds on grass, the wolf on sheep-that's the way God ordained it. Do not ask why; simply obey God's will and leave me free to enter the sheepfolds whenever I feel the pinch of hunger. I say my prayers just like Your Holiness. I say: "Our Father who reignest in the forests and hast commanded me to eat meat, Thy will be done. Give me this day my daily sheep so that my stomach may be filled, and I shall glorify Thy name. Great art Thou, Lord, who hast created mutton so delicious. And when the day cometh that I shall die, Grant, Lord, that I may be resurrected, and that with me may be resurrected all the sheep I have eaten-so that I may eat them again!"' That, Brother Leo, is what the wolf answered me.
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It was certainly not this mummified and outrageously painted old woman he was seeing before him, but the entire "female species, " as it was his custom to call women. The individual disappeared, the features were obliterated, whether young or senile, beautiful or ugly - those were mere unimportant variations. Behind each woman rises the austere, sacred and mysterious face of Aphrodite.
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We are to blame if reality does not take the form we desire. Whatever we have not desired with sufficient strength, that we call nonexistent. Desire it, imbrue it with your blood, your sweat, your tears, and it will take on a body. Reality is nothing more than the chimera subjected to our desire and our suffering.
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. So there must be three sorts of men. I'm not one of the worst, boss, nor yet one of the best. I'm somewhere in between the two. What I eat I turn into work and good humor. That's not too bad, after all!' He looked at me wickedly and started laughing. 'As for you, boss, ' he said, 'I think you do your level best to turn what you eat into God. But you can't quite manage it, and that torments you. The same thing's happening to you as happened to the crow.' 'What happened to the crow, Zorba?' 'Well, you see, he used to walk respectably, properly - well, like a crow. But one day he got it into his head to try and strut about like a pigeon. And from that time on the poor fellow couldn't for the life of him recall his own way of walking. He was all mixed up, don't you see? He just hobbled about.
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No. I don't believe in anything. How many times must I tell you that? I don't believe in anything anyone; only in Zorba. Not because Zorba is better than the others; not at all, not a little bit! He's a brute like the rest! But I believe in Zorba because he's the only being I have in my power, the only one I know. All the rest are guts. All the rest are ghosts, I tell you. When I die, everything'll die. The whole Zorbatic world will go to the bottom!
Forgetting himself for a moment, Francis brought his hand out from under his frock in order to bless the multitude. When the people saw his wound they bellowed madly. The women dashed forward with mantles outstretched to catch the drops; the men thrust in their hands and anointed their faces with blood. The villagers' expressions grew savage, and so did their souls. They longed to be able to tear the Saint limb from limb in order for each of them to claim a mouthful of his flesh, for they wanted to make him their own, to have him enter them so that they could become one with a saint-could be sanctified. Blind rage had overpowered them; their eyes were leaden, their lips ringed with froth.
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My route, Sior Francis-and don't be surprised when you hear it-my route when I set out to find God... was... laziness. Yes, laziness. If I wasn't lazy I would have gone the way of respectable, upstanding people. Like everyone else I would have studied a trade-cabinet-maker, weaver, mason-and opened a shop; I would have worked all day long, and where then would I have found time to search for God? I might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack: that's what I would have said to myself. All my mind and thoughts would have been occupied with how to earn my living, feed my children, how to keep the upper hand over my wife. With such worries, curse them, how could I have the time, or inclination, or the pure heart needed to think about the Almighty? But by the grace of God I was born lazy. To work, get married, have children, and make problems for myself were all too much trouble. I simply sat in the sun during winter and in the shade during summer, while at night, stretched out on my back on the roof of my house, I watched the moon and the stars. And when you watch the moon and the stars how can you expect your mind not to dwell on God? I couldn't sleep any more. Who made all that? I asked myself. And why? Who made me, and why? Where can I find God so that I may ask Him? Piety requires laziness, you know. It requires leisure-and don't listen to what others say. The laborer who lives from hand to mouth returns home each night exhausted and famished. He assaults his dinner, bolts his food, then quarrels with his wife, beats his children without rhyme or reason simply because he's tired and irritated, and afterwards he clenches his fists and sleeps. Waking up for a moment he finds his wife at his side, couples with her, clenches his fists once more, and plunges back into sleep... Where can he find time for God? But the man who is without work, children, and wife thinks about God, at first just out of curiosity, but later with anguish.
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Every integral man has inside him, in his heart of hearts, a mystic center around which all else revolves. This mystic whirling lends unity to his thoughts and actions; it helps him find or invent the cosmic harmony. For some this center is love, for others kindness or beauty, others the thirst for knowledge or the longing for gold and power. They examine the relative value of all else and subordinate it to this central passion.
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I sense that the thing I am seeking is higher than love and higher than the joy of life and higher than science and glory and higher even than starts. Don't keep my wings tied in Your embrace. You are only a shadow and only a smile in the great journey of my soul. Your eyes are the two clear springs where my thoughts came to drink and rest for a moment. And between Your breasts hides the soft pillow where I slept for a moment in order to waken again. Don't hold me bound. The enigma is not hidden in Your Lions nor in Your enormous eyes. And Your arms are small and weak and do not embrace my entire soul. There is a magnet above the stars that pulls me. And my entire body shudders, magnetized by the Great Nostalgia and the Great Longing. Someone is pulling at me from the stars. Do not hold me bound. The thing I am seeking is higher than love and higher than the joy of life.
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