Friday, June 29, 2007

Zorba and the Cherries

A friend named M was a big time Marxist. He used to go rummaging for old socialist and communist magazines in all second hand bookshops. There were and still are plenty of books on the subject in your average bookshop, but his idea was taking class war to the extreme by refusing to buy anything new. When with the second Intifada, he joined demonstrations and protests and boycotts (I remember a hip bourgeois friend who used to boycott all things American because that was hip at the time). M was who first told me of Coelho. Of course, that didn't mean I actually fell for his writings, my opinion of him is much similar to that which I hold for Dan Brown. Zorba is another book M was fond of. He kept reminding me of the episode of Zorba and the cherries, for the deep philosophic meaning it held.
The Zorba character once relates how he was fond of cherries, nay, he was addicted to cherries. Thus he decided to release himself from his addiction by resorting to extreme measures. He fulled himself with cherries until he fell so sick that he couldn't bare see cherries anymore. M's opinion about the episode was that one should release oneself from flesh' desires no matter how high the cost. I, on the other hand, only saw the anecdotal side of the story.
It's odd that I've encountered this anecdote so often. Maybe if M had not spoken, I wouldn't have noticed. The story isn't an easy one to read, yet every one seems to remember Zorba's cherries. Zorba and the cherries have became folklore.