As soon as we are born the return begins, at once the setting forth and the coming back; we die in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of life is death! But as soon as we are born we begin the struggle to create, to compose, to turn matter into life; we are born in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of ephemeral life is immortality! In the temporary living organism these two streams collide: a the ascent toward composition, toward life, toward immortality; b the descent toward decomposition, toward matter, toward death. Both streams well up from the depths of primordial essence.
|Published (Last):||24 July 2008|
|PDF File Size:||20.77 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||18.28 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
As soon as we are born the return begins, at once the setting forth and the coming back; we die in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of life is death!
But as soon as we are born we begin the struggle to create, to compose, to turn matter into life; we are born in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of ephemeral life is immortality! In the temporary living organism these two streams collide: a the ascent toward composition, toward life, toward immortality; b the descent toward decomposition, toward matter, toward death.
Both streams well up from the depths of primordial essence. Life startles us at first; it seems somewhat beyond the law, somewhat contrary to nature, somewhat like a transitory counteraction to the dark eternal fountains; but deeper down we feel that Life is itself without beginning, an indestructible force of the Universe.
Otherwise, from where did that superhuman strength come which hurls us from the unborn to the born and gives us - plants, animals, men - courage for the struggle? But both opposing forces are holy. It is our duty, therefore, to grasp that vision which can embrace and harmonize these two enormous, timeless, and indestructible forces, and with this vision to modulate our thinking and our action.
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. My brain blots out, and all, the heavens and the earth, vanish.
The mind shouts: "Only I exist! That I may not stumble and fall, I erect landmarks over this vertigo; I sling bridges, open roads, and build over the abyss. Nor do I ask; I do not care. I create phenomena in swarms, and paint with a full palette a gigantic and gaudy curtain before the abyss. I am the spectator of the abyss. I am both theory and practice. I am the law. Nothing beyond me exists. Build over the unsteady abyss, with manliness and austerity, the fully round and luminous arena of the mind where you may thresh and winnow the universe like a lord of the land.
Distinguish clearly these bitter yet fertile human truths, flesh of our flesh, and admit them heroically: a the mind of man can perceive appearances only, and never the essence of things; b and not all appearances but only the appearances of matter; c and more narrowly still: not even these appearances of matter, but only relationships between them; d and these relationships are not real and independent of man, for even these are his creations; e and they are not the only ones humanly possible, but simply the most convenient for his practical and perceptive needs.
Within these limitations the mind is the legal and absolute monarch. No other power reigns within its kingdom. I recognize these limitations, I accept them with resignation, bravery, and love, and I struggle at ease in their closure, as though I were free. I rejoice in plants, in animals, in man and in gods, as though they were my children.
I feel all the universe nestling about me and following me as though it were my own body. In sudden dreadful moments a thought flashes through me: "This is all a cruel and futile game, without beginning, without end, without meaning.
Discipline is the highest of all virtues. Only so may strength and desire be counterbalanced and the endeavors of man bear fruit. This is how, with clarity and austerity, you may determine the omnipotence of the mind amid appearances and the incapacity of the mind beyond appearances - before you set out for salvation.
You may not otherwise be saved. To bleed in this agony, and to live it profoundly, is the second duty. The mind is patient and adjusts itself, it likes to play; but the heart grows savage and will not condescend to play; it stifles and rushes to tear apart the nets of necessity.
What is the value of subduing the earth, the waters, the air, of conquering space and time, of understanding what laws govern the mirages that rise from the burning deserts of the mind, their appearance and reappearance? I have one longing only: to grasp what is hidden behind appearances, to ferret out that mystery which brings me to birth and then kills me, to discover if behind the visible and unceasing stream of the world an invisible and immutable presence is hiding.
If the mind cannot, if it was not made to attempt the heroic and desperate breach beyond frontiers, then if only the heart could!
Beyond man I seek the invisible whip which strikes him and drives him into the struggle. I lie in ambush to find out what primordial face struggles beyond animals to imprint itself on the fleeting flesh by creating, smashing, and remolding innumerable masks. I struggle to make out beyond plants the first stumbling steps of the Invisible in the mud. A command rings out within me: "Dig!
What do you see? A mute Night, as thick as death. It must be death. I cannot penetrate the dark partition! I hear voices and weeping.
I hear the flutter of wings on the other shore. They are not on the other shore. The voices, the weeping, and the wings are your own heart.
One foot grips the secure soil, the other gropes in the darkness above the abyss. Behind all appearances, I divine a struggling essence. I want to merge with it. I feel that behind appearances this struggling essence is also striving to merge with my heart. But the body stands between us and separates us.
The mind stands between us and separates us. What is my duty? To shatter the body, to rush and merge with the Invisible. To let the mind fall silent that I may hear the Invisible calling. I walk on the rim of the abyss, and I tremble.
Two voices contend within me. The mind: "Why waste ourselves by pursuing the impossible? Within the holy enclosure of our five senses it is our duty to acknowledge the limitations of man. Never acknowledge the limitations of man. Smash all boundaries! Deny whatever your eyes see. Die every moment, but say: Death does not exist. Life is a game, a performance given by the five actors of my body. But the heart leaps up and shouts: "I am the peasant who jumps on the stage to meddle with the course of the world!
I follow the deep throbbing of my heart. I ask and ask again, beating on chaos: "Who plants us on this earth without asking our permission? Who uproots us from this earth without asking our permission? But I feel all the powers of the universe whirling within me. Before they crush me, I want to open my eyes for a moment and to see them. I set my life no other purpose. I want to find a single justification that I may live and bear this dreadful daily spectacle of disease, of ugliness, of injustice, of death.
I once set out from a dark point, the Womb, and now I proceed to another dark point, the Tomb. A power hurls me out of the dark pit and another power drags me irrevocably toward the dark pit.
I am not like the condemned man whose mind has been deadened with drink. Stone sober, with a clear head, I stride along a narrow path between two cliffs. And I strive to discover how to signal my companions before I die, how to give them a hand, how to spell out for them in time one complete word at least, to tell them what I think this procession is, and toward what we go. And how necessary it is for all of us together to put our steps and hearts in harmony.
To say in time a simple word to my companions, a password, like conspirators. Yes, the purpose of Earth is not life, it is not man. Earth has existed without these, and it will live on without them. They are but the ephemeral sparks of its violent whirling. Let us unite, let us hold each other tightly, let us merge our hearts, let us create - so long as the warmth of this earth endures, so long as no earthquakes, cataclysms, icebergs or comets come to destroy us - let us create for Earth a brain and a heart, let us give a human meaning to the superhuman struggle.
This anguish is our second duty. It wants to fill its dungeon, the skull, with great works, to engrave on the walls heroic mottoes, to paint on its shackles the wings of freedom. The heart cannot adjust itself. Hands beat on the wall outside its dungeon, it listens to erotic cries that fill the air.
Then, swollen with hope, the heart responds by rattling its chains; for a brief moment it believes that its chains have turned to wings. But swiftly the heart falls wounded again, it loses all hope, and is gripped once more by the Great Fear. The moment is ripe: leave the heart and the mind behind you, go forward, take the third step. Free yourself from the simple complacency of the mind that thinks to put all things in order and hopes to subdue phenomena.
Free yourself from the terror of the heart that seeks and hopes to find the essence of things. Conquer the last, the greatest temptation of all: Hope. This is the third duty.
The Saviors of God
Start your review of The Saviors of God Write a review Shelves: favorites-best-books , theology , creativity Since I have been recommending this book, it seemed like a good idea to read it. Some time ago my husband read a part of it to me, and it made a deep impression. And now that I have read it I still say the same. Kazantzakis says between two intervals of darkness we have a brief interval we call life. How should we see it? What are we supposed to do with it? One foot grips the secure soil, the other gropes in the darkness above the abyss.
Saviors of God
Kazantzakis in When Kazantzakis was born in in Kandiye , now Heraklion, Crete had not yet joined the modern Greek state which had been established in , and was still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Then he went to the Sorbonne in to study philosophy. There he fell under the influence of Henri Bergson. In he met Angelos Sikelianos. Together they travelled for two years in places where Greek Orthodox Christian culture flourished, largely influenced by the enthusiastic nationalism of Sikelianos. Kazantzakis married Galatea Alexiou in ; they divorced in
Reason and Meaning
THE SAVIOURS OF GOD