Saturday, April 9, 2011
H is for Henry...
...Miller, that is. One of my favorite writers. i could talk about him, but i'll just let him speak for himself:
To work a radical transformation all that was required, as we saw it, was to put into practice the simple injunction: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." No beliefs, no worship, no ten commandments, no ceremonials, no churches, no organization of any kind. No waiting for a better government, better laws, better working conditions, better this, better that. Begin this moment, wherever you find yourself, and take no thought of the morrow.
Today is like all other days. There is only today.
Death is not the end of life, much less the goal. It is but another aspect of life. There is nothing but life, even among the dead.
And so, regardless of their heroic behavior, regardless of their sublime motives, I have come to regard such activity as indefensible. Even from the purest of motives one has not the right to "molest" another. The effort to bring a man to God, or to bring him enlightenment, is an act of violation. It is even more reprehensible than to subjugate him bodily. Does not the whole art of living center about the practice of tolerance, of noninterference? Before it is possible to love one another, as we are so often enjoined, it is necessary to respect one another, respect the privacy of the soul.
What we learn, of value, we get indirectly, largely unconsciously. It is too often stressed, in my opinion, that we learn through sorrow and suffering. I do not deny this to be true, but I hold that we also learn, and perhaps more lastingly, through moments of joy, of bliss, of ecstasy. Struggle has its importance, but we tend to overrate it. Harmony, serenity, bliss do not come from struggle but from surrender.
We are getting nowhere, because (metaphysically speaking) there is nowhere to go. We are already there, have been since eternity.
...the real escapist is the man who adapts himself to a world he does not subscribe to.
Here in America, to be "different" is almost tantamount to being a traitor.
This is the only reality there is. If you can get it down on paper, in words, notes, or color, so much the better. The great artists don't even bother to put it down on paper: they live with it silently, they become it.
All of the above excerpts come from his book Stand Still Like the Hummingbird. These were sections i had highlighted when i first read it, back when i was a teenager. i had intended to go through many of his books, quoting my favorite parts, but that may take all day. Really, i encourage everyone reading to search out his books, in particular this one, and also Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare and The Wisdom of the Heart.