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Quotes by Henry Miller

  • American author
  • Born December 26, 1891
  • Died June 7, 1980

Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy, which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris (all of which were banned in the United States until 1961).


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




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




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




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




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


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.




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




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




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.




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


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




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




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




Whatever needs to be maintained through force is doomed.


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


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




Life is 440 horsepower in a 2-cylinder engine.




Actors die so loud.




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




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.




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.




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




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




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.




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




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




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.




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


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.




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



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