Zorba’s way of life

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, 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, attract you, without questions of meaning of why and why not. Be blasphemous, simple, 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 Zorba, a 60-year-old thrill seeker. At the time he met Zorba, Kazantzakis, then in his early thirties, was a man living his life through books, vicariously. Zorba 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. Zorba 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. Zorba believes in ‘nothing but Zorba’. ‘Not because Zorba 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. Zorba 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".
"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. 

It’s been 20 years since I started out on the spiritual journey of self-discovery

Since then I've changed so much, I come so far, it’s hard to remember exactly who I once was.

I hear people of my age talking about retirement, pension plans, and future in general. They are very much afraid of what will happen to them. They are afraid of getting old. I do not worry about such things. What is the future after all? An imagination. The future does not exist, it is just in the mind. People lose present moment worrying about the future, worrying about something that does not exist.

I cannot really say that I have discovered the truth but I am okay with understanding that nothing has value in this life. Events arouse desire, fear, anger, and you think it is "you". You get stuck talking to yourself, explaining, hoping, trying to find any meaning in all this.

I have learned that life has no explanations to give. It is an empty, meaningless flow of events that just go on and on. Whatever happens has little or no importance. People are born, they live their pity lives... they eat, shit, fuck, work and work and work more until they die. New people are born and circle is closed. Nature is smiling, the purpose has been accomplished.

Courage and optimism diminish with time...

As you grow older, as time is passing by, you are becoming more and more a coward. With age you lack the courage to do or endure unpleasant things. Some of you appear as cynics but actually you are just timid, easily intimidated person.

The house that you own, the money in retirement fund etc. do not really protect you. They fool you. There is no security or any rest in this world, the picture of old people on the beach is not realistic. It does not show, the pills for high blood pressure, diapers, the lack of sleep, rheumatism etc... 

Believe me, nothing worthwhile comes with age.

There’s no meaning to your life, no reward for achieving all the things you've achieved. And please, stop saying that things were better back then in your youth. When you were young, the life was cheaper, happier and people were nicer. Oh well. 

Two years ago I made my last will. Upon my death my body is to be cremated and ashes spread in water and earth. No reminder of my existence should be left. 

Don't be sad, celebrate life, it's the only thing you can do...

Be courageous, live and be free with full understanding that there is only a glaring nothingness awaiting you on the other side. Live, fight like it matters...

I've started releasing my control over things and let things happen on their own, It is important to be completely independent and to know how to care about yourself. It is not easy to find someone with whom you can share your deepest secrets. But to be true to yourself is a feature worth to be cultivated in life.

You are on your life journey. Many of you are on completely different routes than I am. In my years I have concluded that there is not such thing as truth. Everything that you know is false, there are only lies. You may have concluded something else... Does it really matter?