Henry Miller Quotes

Actors die so loud.

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.

An artist is always alone – if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.

Analysis brings no curative powers in its train; it merely makes us conscious of the existence of an evil, which, oddly enough, is consciousness.

And what is the potential man, after all? Is he not the sum of all that is human? Divine, in other words?

Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery.

Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself.

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Every man has his own destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him.

Every man with a bellyful of the classics is an enemy to the human race.

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

Example moves the world more than doctrine. The great exemplars are the poets of action, and it makes little difference whether they be forces for good or forces for evil.

Henry Miller

Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire.

I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth.

I have never been able to look upon America as young and vital but rather as prematurely old, as a fruit which rotted before it had a chance to ripen.

I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.

I see America spreading disaster. I see America as a black curse upon the world. I see a long night settling in and that mushroom which has poisoned the world withering at the roots.

If men cease to believe that they will one day become gods then they will surely become worms.

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance.

In the attempt to defeat death man has been inevitably obliged to defeat life, for the two are inextricably related. Life moves on to death, and to deny one is to deny the other.

In the beginning was the Word. Man acts it out. He is the act, not the actor.

In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest.

Instead of asking ‘How much damage will the work in question bring about?’ why not ask ‘How much good? How much joy?’

It does me good to write a letter which is not a response to a demand, a gratuitous letter, so to speak, which has accumulated in me like the waters of a reservoir.

It is the American vice, the democratic disease which expresses its tyranny by reducing everything unique to the level of the herd.

It isn’t the oceans which cut us off from the world – it’s the American way of looking at things.

Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning.

Life is 440 horsepower in a 2-cylinder engine.

Life is constantly providing us with new funds, new resources, even when we are reduced to immobility. In life’s ledger there is no such thing as frozen assets.

Life, as it is called, is for most of us one long postponement.

Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang’s feeble imagination.

Madness is tonic and invigorating. It makes the sane more sane. The only ones who are unable to profit by it are the insane.

Man has demonstrated that he is master of everything except his own nature.

Moralities, ethics, laws, customs, beliefs, doctrines – these are of trifling import. All that matters is that the miraculous become the norm.

Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don’t take it too seriously.

No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance.

No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming operations on this front and that, but man’s front embraces the whole universe.

One can be absolutely truthful and sincere even though admittedly the most outrageous liar. Fiction and invention are of the very fabric of life.

One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one.

One of the reasons why so few of us ever act, instead of react, is because we are continually stifling our deepest impulses.

One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.

Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense.

Plots and character don’t make life. Life is here and now, anytime you say the word, anytime you let her rip.

Sin, guilt, neurosis; they are one and the same, the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

The concert is a polite form of self induced torture.

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 perpetuation which is important. For this only one good reader is necessary.

The legal system is often a mystery, and we, its priests, preside over rituals baffling to everyday citizens.

The man who is forever disturbed about the condition of humanity either has no problems of his own or has refused to face them.

The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble.

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

The new always carries with it the sense of violation, of sacrilege. What is dead is sacred; what is new, that is different, is evil, dangerous, or subversive.

The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough is love.

The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.

The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.

The prisoner is not the one who has commited a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over.

The real enemy can always be met and conquered, or won over. Real antagonism is based on love, a love which has not recognized itself.

The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way.

The Teutons have been singing the swan song ever since they entered the ranks of history. They have always confounded truth with death.

The tragedy of it is that nobody sees the look of desperation on my face. Thousands and thousands of us, and we’re passing one another without a look of recognition.

The waking mind is the least serviceable in the arts.

The world dies over and over again, but the skeleton always gets up and walks.

The world is not to be put in order; the world is order, incarnate. It is for us to harmonize with this order.

The world is the mirror of myself dying.

The worst sin that can be committed against the artist is to take him at his word, to see in his work a fulfillment instead of an horizon.

There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.

There is nothing strange about fear: no matter in what guise it presents itself it is something with which we are all so familiar that when a man appears who is without it we are at once enslaved by him.

To live without killing is a thought which could electrify the world, if men were only capable of staying awake long enough to let the idea soak in.

True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself.

Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing.

We do not talk – we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests.

We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it means danger, revolution, anarchy.

We live at the edge of the miraculous.

We live in the mind, in ideas, in fragments. We no longer drink in the wild outer music of the streets – we remember only.

We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.

What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their ability to act according to their beliefs.

What does it matter how one comes by the truth so long as one pounces upon it and lives by it?

What is not in the open street is false, derived, that is to say, literature.

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 them is not my concern.

Whatever needs to be maintained through force is doomed.

Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring.

When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat.

When you know what men are capable of you marvel neither at their sublimity nor their baseness. There are no limits in either direction apparently.

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.