jueves, 14 de agosto de 2014

The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller (Fragments)

The Colossus of Maroussi is a book by Henry Miller which contains his own experience while travelling through Greece. The Colossus refers to Katsimbalis a Greek writer he met during his stay.
I loved Katsimbalis; his lack of moderation, his sensual delights; the way he affected the lives of others without imposing his authority upon them. The great event he saw in every little experience of life; as when he picks up a flower, and he made me feel that the whole universe was contained in that gesture.

I loved when Miller goes to Eleusis after spending some time in Athens, the way he describes the light running through his naked body and he says ‘there is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy’ and the world was crazy, he was experiencing life in the midst of war. 

Then he goes to Epidaurus, and I trust peace can be touched in that place, as Miller described it. It is beautiful to understand that peace means clinging onto nothing; let go of the will to possess and be possessed, walk alone. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was the visit to the soothsayer. The liberation he felt with the soothsayer’s reading. Accept art for what it is, and for what it isn’t and let it go. It was so beautiful, so intense. I feel that Miller during his stay in Greece was a real anarchist, the spiritual anarchist we all are longing to be. In the end I think he  understood that even though we need one another in order to survive, ultimately we walk alone. This is a book focused on the self and he recognized the limitations of the self and the borders of prejudice and fear we enclosed ourselves in.

I liked it a lot!!! And here is my selection of quotes:

It’s good to be just plain happy; it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how, in what way, because of what concatenation of events or circumstances, and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss, and if you have any sense you ought to kill yourself on the spot and be done with it.

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

When you spot anything true and clear you are at Zero. Zero is Greek for pure vision. It means what Lawrence Durrell says when he writes Ionian. It means, and now for example, I can tell you more precisely because what I am trying to describe is happening right before my very eyes …

The absence of newspapers, the absence of news about what men are doing in different parts of the world to make life, more livable or unlivable is the greatest single boon. If we could just eliminate newspapers a great advance would be made, I am sure of it. Newspapers engender lies, hatred, greed, envy, suspicion, fear, malice. We don’t need the truth as it is dished up to us in the daily papers. We need peace and solitude and idleness. If we could all go on strike and honestly disavow all interest in what our neighbor is doing we might get a new lease of life. We might learn to do without telephones and radios and newspapers, without machines of any kind, without factories, without mills, without mines, without explosives, without battleships, without politicians, without lawyers, without canned goods, without gadgets, without razor blades even or cellophane or cigarettes or money. This is a pipe dream, I know. People only go on strike for better working conditions, better wages, better opportunities to become something other than they are.

During all the years that I have been writing I have steeled myself to the idea that I would not really be accepted, at least to my own countrymen, until after my death. many times, in writing, I have looked over my own shoulder from beyond the grave, more alive to the reactions of those to come than to those of my contemporaries. A good part of my life has, in a way, been lived in the future. With regard to all that vitally concerns me I am really a dead man, alive only to a very few who, like myself, could not wait for the world to catch up with them. I do not say this out of pride or vanity, but with humility not untouched by sadness. Sadness is perhaps hardly the right word either, since I neither regret the course I have followed nor desire things to be any different than they are. I know now what the world is like and knowing I accept it, both the good and the evil. To live creatively, I have discovered, means to live more and more unselfishly, to live more and more into the world, identifying oneself with it and thus influencing it at the core, so to speak. Art, like religion, it now seems to me, is only a preparation, an initiation into the way of life. The goal is liberation, freedom, which means assuming greater responsibility.

There was a terrific synchronization of dream and reality, the two worlds merging in a bowl of pure light, and we the voyagers suspended, as it were, over the earthly life.

It was an extraordinary dream of death and transfiguration in which he had risen up out of his own body and gone out of the world.

there are a thousand ways of talking and words don’t help if the spirit is absent…we understood one another even with the wrong words.

The task of genius, and man is nothing if not genius, is to keep miracle alive, to live always in the miracle, to make the miracle more and more miraculous, to swear allegiance to nothing, but live only miraculously, think only miraculously, die miraculously. It matters little how much is destroyed, if only the germ of the miraculous be preserved and nurtured.

The enemy of man is not germs but man himself, his pride, his prejudices, his stupidity, his arrogance. No class is immune, no system holds a panacea. Each one individually must revolt against a way of life which is not his own…It is not enough to overthrow governments, masters, tyrants: one must overthrow his own preconceived ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust.

The best stories I have heard were pointless, the best books those whose plot I can never remember, the best individuals those whom I never get anywhere with. Though it has been practiced on me time and again I never cease to marvel how it happens that with certain individuals whom I know, within a few minutes after greeting them we are embarked on an endless voyage comparable in feeling and trajectory only to the deep middle dream which the practiced dreamer slips into like a bone slips into its sockets.

At that moment I rejoiced that I was free of possessions, free of all•ties, free of fear and envy and malice. I could have passed quietly from one dream to another, owning nothing, regretting nothing, wishing nothing. I was never more certain that life and death are one and that neither can be enjoyed or embraced if the other be absent.

The man who was talking had ceased to be of human size or proportions but had become a Colossus whose silhouette swooned backwards and forwards with the deep droning rhythm of his drug-laden phrases. He went on and on and on, unhurried, unruffled, inexhaustible, inextinguishable, a voice that had taken form and shape and substance, a figure that had outgrown its human frame, a silhouette whose reverberations rumbled in the depths of the distant mountain sides.

To be free, as I then knew myself to be, is to realize that all conquest is vain, even the conquest of self, which is the last act of egotism.

To be joyous is to carry the ego to its last summit and to deliver it triumphantly. To know peace is total: it is the moment after, when the surrender is complete, when there is no longer even the consciousness of surrender. Peace is at the center and when it is attained the voice issues forth in praise and benediction. Then the voice carries far and wide, to the outermost limits of the universe. Then it heals, because it brings light and the warmth of compassion. 

- Henry Miller

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