Make of yourself a work of art

During World War II, Henry Miller wrote an interesting essay called “Art and the Future”. This article on it piqued my curiosity enough to track down a print copy–my first physical book purchase in a while–and jot down a few quotes.

On the purpose of art:

To put it quite simply, art is only a stepping stone to reality; it is the vestibule in which we undergo the rites of initiation. Man’s task is to make of himself a work of art. The creations which man makes manifest have no validity in themselves; they serve to awaken, that is all. And that, of course, is a great deal. But it is not the all. Once awakened, everything will reveal itself to man as creation. Once the blinders have been removed and the fetters unshackled, man will have no need to recreate through the elect cult of genius. Genius will be the norm…

What is the end game of communication technologies?

What we have overlooked, in our frenzy to invent more dazzling ways and means of communication, is to communicate. The artist lumbers along with crude implements. He is only a notch above his predecessor, the cave man. Even the film art, requiring the services of veritable armies of technicians, is only giving us shadow plays, old almost as man himself…

It may be that the revolution ensuing will envelop us in even greater darkness. But even in the blackest night it will be a joy and a boon to know that we are touching hands around the world. That has never happened before. We can touch and speak and pray in utter darkness. And we can wait for the dawn–no matter how long–provided we all wait together.