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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nikos Kazantzakis

"I fear nothing, I hope for nothing, I am free."

Greek Novelist
1883 - 1957


Years ago I read the fascinating novel, The Last Temptation of Christ, by Nikos Kazantzakis.   The novel is an attempt to put a human face on Jesus Christ and take him out of the spiritual world where he is God.  The book has since been made into a movie.  I don't recall if this quote is from the book, but it could be given the storyline.

What kind of person would make this kind of statement?  Who among us is not afraid of something?   Who hopes for nothing?  And does freedom really mean having no fear and no hope?  Should the creative leader fear nothing?  Should the artist hope for nothing?  Can a novelist ever be free?  And what is freedom, anyway?  Every society places constraints on its citizens.  Society by its very nature has rules and regulations to govern interaction between people.  Artists often attempt to step outside the boundaries laid down by society.  Some are successful and others are destroyed in the process.

Is Nikos saying that if we have hopes and fears that we are not free?  How can a creative leader function if he does not have hope?  Wouldn't he stop living?  While many of us wish that we did not have fears, there is a positive aspect of fear.  It can protect us from real danger.  Would you want to live without fear?