1. Distinguish clearly these bitter yet fertile human truths, flesh of our flesh, and admit them heroically: (a) the mind of man can perceive appearances only, and never the essence of things; (b) and not all appearances but only the appearances of matter; (c) and more narrowly still: not even these appearances of matter, but only relationships between them; (d) and these relationships are not real and independent of man, for even these are his creations; (e) and they are not the only ones humanly possible, but simply the most convenient for his practical and perceptive needs.
  2. Within these limitations the mind is the legal and absolute monarch. No other power reigns within its kingdom.
  3. I recognize these limitations, I accept them with resignation, bravery, and love, and I struggle at ease in their closure, as though I were free.
  4. I subdue matter and force it to become my mind's good medium. I rejoice in plants, in animals, in man and in gods, as though they were my children. I feel all the universe nestling about me and following me as though it were my own body.
  5. In sudden dreadful moments a thought flashes through me: "This is all a cruel and futile game, without beginning, without end, without meaning." But again I yoke myself swiftly to the wheels of necessity, and all the universe begins to revolve around me once more.
  6. Discipline is the highest of all virtues. Only so may strength and desire be counterbalanced and the endeavors of man bear fruit.
  7. This is how, with clarity and austerity, you may determine the omnipotence of the mind amid appearances and the incapacity of the mind beyond appearances - before you set out for salvation. You may not otherwise be saved.
  8. -–Nikos Kazantzakis, from “The Saviors of God”