You are bound to be surprised that this caused even people like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – the highest you can conceive in intelligence – to become homosexuals. If a man loves his body, naturally he will love another man’s body. The woman is so condemned that she is almost treated as subhuman. In Athens perhaps democracy has flowered the best, but it was only for men; women had no votes.
Nikos Kazantzakis represents both the things. One is his Greek mind, which is self-loving, materialist. In the West only Greece has produced materialistic philosophies, and Epicurus is the peak. So his Greek mind is Zorba – that’s why he calls his book Zorba The Greek.
But Christianity contaminated the whole Greek mind. Jesus never knew the word Christ, never knew the word Christian. These are Greek words and Jesus was not acquainted with Greek, not even with Hebrew. He spoke the language of the common masses. Hebrew was the language of the priests, rabbis – the common people spoke Aramaic, which is an unrefined form of Hebrew. He used the word messiah which becomes Christ in Greek, and the followers become “Christians.”
Jesus influenced the Greek mind tremendously, for the simple reason that they were leaning too much toward the material – they were not balanced people. They thought themselves only bodies; the soul was just an invention. But man is not only body.
The Greeks had no religion, and Christianity filled the vacuum. The Greek personality became split.
The Greek is materialistic, Epicurean – loves the body, loves good food, good wine, beautiful women, beautiful men – and is not concerned at all what happens after death. According to Epicurus you die with your death, nothing happens afterwards. There is nothing after death, there is nothing before birth. You are an accident, without any planning – a small lifespan of seventy years. Don’t waste it, enjoy.
Nikos is half Greek and half Christian. He cannot intelligently deny that there is something more to you than your physiology. He cannot deny his mind, he cannot deny even the witness of the mind – which are not physiological phenomena.
That was his continuous torture. He was one of the most tortured artists of contemporary life – one of the best, but that is the curse. When you have the best intelligence, you want to become one organic whole. The idiots don’t get into self-torture – they don’t think at all. Torture needs thinking.
Nikos is torn apart – his Greek heritage is materialist and his Christianity is anti-materialist. He cannot live as a materialist because his Christianity is continuously condemning him. He cannot live as a Christian because that is only an idea, his reality is his Greek heritage. He is pulled apart – that is his torture, continuously.
And the man who goes through self-torture automatically becomes guilty.