What is Zorba’s way of life?

It is a life worth living for... living a life according to your whims, eternally on the move and doing different things and meeting new and different people. Food, and music, and women, are what a real man should live for. Or rather, you don’t need to live for anything at all.

It is the day-to-day pleasures of life that must lead you and attract you, without questions of meaning of why and why not. Be blasphemous, simple, and stop worrying about others. God and the devil are one and the same. Live life and expect to die in the very next minute.

In his novel Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis tells the story of how his life was changed by an accidental encounter with Alexis Zorbas, a 60-year-old thrill seeker. At the time he met Zorbas, Kazantzakis, then in his early thirties, was a man living his life through books, vicariously. Zorbas taught him how to stop being a spectator of his own life and relish it.

Believe in nothing but yourself is a main idea of the book. Zorbas believes neither in God nor in the devil. ‘It’s too much fuss’, he says candidly, ‘things get all mixed up’. He doesn’t believe in people either. ‘People are beasts’, he says, describing them as ungrateful, servile opportunists. Zorbas believes in ‘nothing but Zorbas’. ‘Not because Zorbas is better than the others’, he explains, ‘he’s a beast too. But he’s the only one over whom I have power’.

Common sense, life according to society and purity are poison. Zorbas tells Kazantzakis this parable:

If you get a magnifying lens and see the water we drink, an engineer told me, you’ll find out that the water is full of tiny tiny worms, invisible to the eye. You’ll see the worms and you won’t drink. You won’t drink and you’ll die of thirst. Break the lens, boss, break the damned lens, and the worms will vanish at once, you’ll drink water, and you’ll quench your thirst!


Do you want pure love, pure fun, pure creativity, pure happiness? Then, look closely at anything, you’ll always find tiny worms. And you won’t love, you won’t have fun, you won’t create, you won’t be happy. Even the best things in life will disgust you. And you’ll drag your thirsty soul around and fear life and the world, because it can’t give you the purity you desire. Fuck all that, break the lens.

The problem with the common sense is that by always taking it you’ll never learn anything about yourself. The common sense is uninformative and boring. As Zorba put it - ‘the faster this whole thing goes to hell the better!’.

You so often delay failure. Not by improving what you do, but by hiding your head in the sand. You almost never test your ideas in life - "When everything goes wrong, what a joy to test our soul if it has endurance and virtue! It’s as if an invisible, all-powerful enemy — some call him God others the devil — rushes upon us to take us down, but we stand tall."

Frequently what you call freedom a large house, nice job, kids, whatever, is just slavery with a longer leash. To cut that leash you must stop calculating your life. You must stop trying to measure everything you do and stop balancing your profits and losses. It is the calculating mind that loves the leash.

The longest leash is an ideal for something. "God, country, buddha, healthy food, climate change, ideas’. Oh how easily you made mistake so you're a slave to that lofty ideal. "Even the biggest ideas, if you open their belly, you’ll see that they’re puppets, stuffed with bran, and in the bran, cunningly rammed, there’s a tin spring".

Our soul is heavy but it is big, we will celebrate life forever, lets have one more drink 🍺


"Listen, just another minute. If some priest or other comes to take my confession and give me the sacrament, tell him to clear out, quick, and leave me his curse instead! I've done heaps and heaps of things in my life, but I still did not do enough. Men like me ought to live a thousand years. Good night!"

These were his last words. He then sat up in his bed, threw back the sheets and tried to get up. We ran to prevent him--Ljuba, his wife, and I, along with several sturdy neighbors. But he brushed us all roughly aside, jumped out of bed and went to the window.

There, he gripped the frame, looked out far into the mountains, opened wide his eyes and began to laugh, then to whinny like a horse. It was thus, standing, with his nails dug into the window frame, that death came to him.