More on Miller
talk now about reality, but I know there is no getting at it, leastwise
by writing. I learn less and realize more: I learn in some different,
more subterranean way. I acquire more and more the gift of immediacy. I
am developing the ability to perceive, apprehend, analyze, synthesize,
categorize, inform, articulate - all at once. The structural element of
things reveals itself more readily to my eye. I eschew all clear cut
interpretations: with increasing simplification the mystery heightens.
What I know tends to become more and more unstatable. I live in
certitude, a certitude which is not dependent upon proofs or faith. I
live completely for myself, without the least egotism or selfishness.
I am living out my share of life and thus abetting the scheme of
things. I further the development, the enrichment, the evolution and the
devolution of the cosmos, everyday in every way. I give all I have to
give, voluntarily, and take as much as I can possibly ingest. I am a
prince and a pirate at the same time. I am the equals sign, the
spiritual counterpart of the sign Libra which was wedged into the
original Zodiac by separating Virgo from Scorpio. I find that there is
plenty of room in the world for everybody - great interspatial depths,
great ego universes, great islands of repair, for whoever attains to
Now I can as easily not write as write: there is no longer any
compulsion, no longer any therapeutic aspect to it. Whatever I do is
done out of sheer joy: I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the
general reader or the critic makes of it is not my concern. I am not
establishing values: I defecate and nourish. There is nothing more to
Henry Miller underlines how a creative work is conditioned by the
creative writer’s discovery of his own instincts and intuitions.
“This condition of sublime indifference is a logical development of
the egocentric life. I lived out the social problem by dying: the real
problem is not one of getting on with one’s neighbour or of contributing
to the development of one’s country, but of discovering one’s destiny,
of making a life in accord with the deep-centered rhythm of the cosmos.
To be able to use the world cosmos boldly, to use the word soul, to deal
in things “spiritual” - and to shun definitions, alibis, proofs, duties.
Paradise is everywhere and every road, if one continues along it far
enough, leads to it. One can only go forward by going backward and then
sideways and then up and then down. There is no progress: there is
perpetual movement, displacement, which is circular, spiral, endless.
Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to
accept it, no matter where it lead him.
I haven’t the slightest idea what my future books will be like, even
the one immediately to follow. My charts and plans are the slenderest
sort of guides: I scrap them at will. I invent, distort, deform, lie,
inflate exaggerate, confound and confuse as the mood seizes me. I obey
only my own instincts and intuitions. I know nothing in advance. Often I
put down things which I do not understand myself, secure in the
knowledge that later they will become clear and meaningful to me. I have
faith in the man who is writing who is myself, the writer. I do not
believe in words, no matter if strung together by the most skilful man:
I believe in language, which is something beyond words, something which
words give only an inadequate illusion of. Words do not exist
separately, except in the minds of scholars, etymologists, philologists,
etc. Words divorced from language are dead things, and yield no secrets.
A man is revealed in his style, the language which he has created for
himself. To the man who is pure at heart I believe that everything is as
clear as a bell, even the most esoteric scripts. For such a man there is
always mystery, but the mystery is not mysterious, it is logical,
natural, ordained, and implicitly accepted.
Understanding is not a piercing of the mystery, but an acceptance of
it, a living blissfully with it, in it, through and by it. I would like
my words to flow along in the same way that the world flows along, a
serpentine movement through incalculable dimensions, axes, latitudes,
climates, conditions. I accept a priori my inability to realize such an
ideal. It does not bother me in the least. In the ultimate sense, the
world itself is pregnant with failure, is the perfect manifestation of
imperfection, of the consciousness of failure. In the realization of
this, failure is itself eliminated. Like the primal spirit of the
universe, like the unshakable Absolute, the One, the All, the Creator,
i.e., the artist, expresses himself by and through imperfection.
It is the stuff of life, the very sign of liveliness. One gets nearer
to the heart of truth, which I suppose is the ultimate aim of the
writer, in the measure that he ceases to struggle, in the measurer that
he abandons the will. The great writer is the very symbol of life, of
the non-perfect. He moves effortlessly, giving the illusion of
perfection, from some unknown center which is certainly not the brain
center but which is definitely a center, a center connected with the
rhythm of the whole universe and consequently as sound, solid,
unshakable as durable, defiant, anarchic, purposeless, as the universe
itself. Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life. The great
work must inevitably be obscure, except to the very few, to those who
like the author himself are initiated into the mysteries. Communication
then is secondary: it is perpetration which is important. For this only
one good reader is necessary.