Saturday, July 23, 2011


On the whole, I must say, I have found better men — better in every sense of the word — among the uncultured than among the cultured ones of the world. The most monstrous crimes against humanity are being committed every day by those who have had all the advantages of learning. By making people more literate, more book conscious, we can hardly say that we are thereby making better citizens of them.

A book is no better than, and usually not as good as a rock, a tree, a creature of the wild, a wisp of cloud, a wave, or a shadow on the wall. We who make books are indebted not to books but to the things which impel men to write books: earth, air, fire and water. If there were not a common source from which author and reader alike draw, there would be no books. Would it be such a calamity, a world without books? Could we not still communicate our joys, our discoveries, by word of mouth? Falling back on the tongue, there would be no need to destroy whole forests, mar the landscape, befoul the air, or dull the minds and bodies of those who toil to provide us with mental and spiritual fodder in the form of books.

Henry Miller

from - "To Read or Not To Read"
Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
New Directions, 1962

father & son photographs over the years taken by the quiet hand of the household

photos above © susan arnold

henry miller