“Once I thought that I had been wounded as no man ever had. Because I felt thus I vowed to write this book. But long before I began the book the wound had healed. Since I had sworn to fulfil my task I reopened the horrible wound. Let me put it another way . . . Perhaps in opening the wound, my own wound, I closed other wounds, other people’s wounds. Something dies, something blossoms. To suffer in ignorance is horrible. To suffer deliberately, in order to understand the nature of suffering and abolish it forever, is quite another matter. The Buddha had one fixed thought in mind all his life, as we know. It was to eliminate human suffering. Suffering is unnecessary. But one has to suffer before he is able to realise that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment – when one can suffer no more! – something happens which is in the nature of a miracle. The great open wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is ‘free’ at last, and not ‘with a yearning for Russia’, but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but the knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting.”

Henry Miller in: PLEXUS, The Rosy Crucifixion. Olympia Press, Paris, 1953; Grove Press, New York, 1963.

Note: Towards the end of “Plexus”, Miller produces an elaborate cadenza about Spengler, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Hesse, and the Tao Te Ching, and discovers the reason for all his suffering: to give something back to the world.