sábado, março 05, 2005
"Boss, everything's simple in the world. How many times must I tell you? So don't go and complicate things!"
I at last realized that eating was a spiritual function and that meat, bread and wine were the raw materials from which the mind is done.
"Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I'll tell you what you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and others, I'm told, into God."
[...] 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.
To enter that gate and bolt it, to run after her, take her by the waist and, without a word, drag her to her large widow's bed, that was what you would call being a man! That was what my grandfather would have done, and what I hope my grandson will do! But I stood there like a post, weighing things up and reflecting ...
"Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly at all, in my view, is not to have one."
Religion [...] had become degraded in my soul: it had become art.
The great ascetic collects his students round him and says: "Woe to him who has not within himself the source of happiness!", "Woe to him who wants to please others!"
"You want to build a monastery. That's it! Instead of monks you'd stick a few quill drivers like your honored self inside and they'd pass the time scribbing day and night. [...] Well, I'm going to ask you a favor, holy abbot: I want you to appoint me doorkeeper to your monastery so that I can do some smuggling and, now and then, let some very strange things through into the holy precincts: women, mandolins, demijohns of raki, roast sucking pigs ... All so that you don't fritter away your life with a lot of nonsense!"
"It's all because of doing things by halves," he would often say to me, and "saying things by halves, that the world is in the mess is in today. Do things properly by God! One good knock for each nail and you'll win through! God hates a halfdevil ten times more than an archdevil!"
"What a strange machine man is!" he said, with astonishment. "You fill him with bread, wine, fish, radishes, and out of him come sighs, laughter and dreams. Like a factory. I'm sure there's a sort of talking-film cinema in our heads."
I stopped, ashamed. That is what a real man is like [...] A man with warm blood and solid bones, who lets real tears run down his cheeks when he is suffering; and when he is happy he does not spoil the freshness of his joy by running it through the fine sieve of metaphysics.
"`Alexis,' he said, `I'm going to tell you a secret. You're too small to understand now, but you'll understand when you are bigger. Listen, little one: neither the seven stories of heaven nor the seven stories of the earth are enough to contain God; but a man's heart can contain him. So be very careful, Alexis - and may my blessing go with you - never to wound a man's heart!'"
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, seems to rush upon us to destroy us; but we are not destroyed.
"What d'you lack? You're young, you have money, health, you're a good fellow, you lack nothing. Nothing, by thunder! Except just one thing - folly! And when that's missing, boss, well ..."
Six or seven months later I had a card from Rumania showing a very buxom woman wearing a low-necked dress. "I'm still alive, I'm eating mamaliga and drinking vodka. I work in the oil mines and am as dirty and stinking as any sewer rat. But who cares? you can find here plenty of all your heart and belly can desire. A real paradise for old rascals like me. Do you understand, boss? A wonderful life ... plenty of sweetmeats, and sweethearts into the bargain, God be praised! All the best."
Alexis Zorbescu, sewer rat
Zorba the Greek
by Nikos Kazantzakis
Simon and Schuster, 1953
NOTE: words between double quotes belong to Zorba; the rest belongs to the narrator.
posted by Luís Miguel Dias sábado, março 05, 2005