“If it be knowledge or wisdom one is seeking, then one had better go direct to the source. And the source is not the scholar or philosopher, not the master, saint, or teacher, but life itself—direct experience of life.”—Henry Miller, The Books In My Life
I couldn’t pass that quote by without including it in my ever expanding collection of Quotes.
Immediately having copied it out I went in search of another, by Goethe, pretty much saying the exact same thing. Here it is:
“I am therefore always surprised at the learned, who seem to suppose that poetizing proceeds not from life to the poem, but from the book to the poem.”—Johann Peter Eckermann, Conversations With Goethe
Two men saying precisely the same thing in two different ways, with two hundred years separating them.
When one goes on an individual journey, a personal quest for truth amidst the cacophony of the modern world, and such a journey is never a short one these days, if one persists long enough one inevitably finds him or herself in the company of a few select beings. Giants of the human spirit as I like to refer to them.
Miller puts it this way, again from the opening page of his Books In My Life:
“There have been and always will be books which are truly revolutionary—that is to say, inspired and inspiring. They are few and far between, of course. One is lucky to run across a handful in a lifetime. Moreover, these are not the books which invade the general public. They are the hidden reservoirs which feed the men of lesser talent who know how to appeal to the man in the street.”
“Hidden reservoirs which feed the men of lesser talent who know how to appeal to the man in the street.” I like that.
I wander the bookstores of today, all bright and glossy, and see a whole lot of appealing to the man in the street.
Oh well, that’s why the Cafe remains a place happily apart.