Report To Greco Kazantzakis, N.
Though a highly imaginative autobiography, “Report To Greco” makes a fascinating companion to Kazantzakis’ novel, “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Many of the personal spiritual struggles the author documents in his autobiography are transposed to the character of Jesus in “Last Temptation.” He tries to work through a very Greek idea that the flesh and the spirit are not only incompatible but are locked in an eternal struggle which only one can win. As a pious young man, Kazantzakis wrestled with the temptations of the flesh to the point that he actually broke out in disgusting, pus-filled lesions when tempted to have intercourse with an attractive woman. Other encounters contradict this point of view, like the old monk who tells him that the one time he saw God was when he made love to a woman. This book is filled with passion for ideas and passion for the spiritual quest, and it follows a rather circuitous route of trial and error that seems to end by finding “God” in the blood of his Greek forebears. It is not necessary to be a theist to appreciate the painfully honest quest for meaning in life. I first encountered Kazantzakis more than 40 years ago and I still find intriguing and provocative things in his work.