Monday, 14 July 2014

Wisdom from Kazantzakis

From Nikos Kazantzakis' The Fratricides:
Father Yanaros watched her as she climbed and disappeared from sight. For a moment, he forgot himself. "What strength," he murmured, "what life, what youth! Why do I demand virtue and honor of such a body? Let her get it out of her system first; let her eat up the world and become satiated and have her mouth fill with ashes! Then, virtue and goodness will appear from the ruins."
I reproduce this quote as a recommendation to those of a religious persuasion. I do not understand why, but many religious leaders seem to spend an almighty amount of time proscribing various activities and behaviours, simply because they associate too much with the body. They'd be much better off letting life run its course.

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Somewhat related perhaps... I read today that Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimming legend, has revealed in an interview that he is gay. Growing up in Australia in the 90's, I remember Ian Thorpe as an Australian champion of the first order. I've read since of his various struggles with depression and alcohol. I hope that this revelation will allow him to find some happiness. And, for what it's worth, he will always be a legend as far as I'm concerned.

(I.T. made one particularly striking remark in the article I read: in his dark times he had felt embarrassed to admit to feeling depressed, knowing as he did that the life he was leading was the stuff of many people's dreams. There is definitely an issue in modern life about people being allowed to be unhappy. Even (especially?) when `they have everything.' I've had friends who've also struggled with such an admission, feeling guilty because they had no good reason to feel unhappy, they just were... The simple act of saying "I'm unhappy" can be immensely liberating.)