Henry Miller

United States
26 Dec 1891 // 7 Jun 1980
Writer

To Be Yourself

Every time you come to the limit of what is demanded of you, you are faced with the same problem - to be yourself! And with the first step you make in this direction you realize that there is neither plus nor minus; you throw the skates away and swim. There is no suffering any more because there is nothing which can threaten your security. And there is no desire to be of help to others even, because why rob them of a privilege which must be earned? Life stretches out from moment to moment in stupendous infinitude. Nothing can be more real than what you suppose it to be.

Whatever you think the cosmos to be it is and it could not possibly be anything else as long as you are you and I am I. You live in the fruits of your action and your action is the harvest of your thought. Thought and action are one, because swimming you are in it and of it, and it is everything you desire it to be, no more, no less. Every stroke counts for eternity. The heating and cooling system is one system, and Cancer is separated from Capricorn only by an imaginary line. You don't become ecstatic and you are not plunged into violent grief; you don't pray for rain, neither do you dance a jig. You live like a happy rock in the midst of the ocean: you are fixed while everything about you is in turbulent motion. You are fixed in a reality which permits the thought that nothing is fixed, that even the happiest and mightiest rock will one day be utterly dissolved and fluid as the ocean from which it was born.

Henry Miller, in 'Tropic of Capricorn'
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Tropic of Capricorn

Henry Miller

 

On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays