Dreams: A Henry Miller Quote


Dreams are the very substance of reality. Reality is not protected or defended by laws, proclamations, ukases, cannons and armadas. Reality is that which is sprouting all the time out of death and disintegration. You can’t do anything to it; you can’t add or subtract, you can only become more and more aware. Those who are partly aware are the creators; those who are fully aware are the gods and they move among us silent and unknown. The function of the artist, who is only one type of creator, is to wake us up. The artists stimulate our imagination. They open up for us portions of reality, unlatch the doors which we habitually keep shut. They disturb us, some more than others. Some remind me of those Russians who are trained to go forth single-handed and meet the invading tanks. They seem so puny and defenseless, but when they hit the mark they cause inestimable havoc. We have good reason to fear them, those of us who are asleep. They bring the light that kills as well as illumines. There are lone figures armed only with ideas, sometimes with just one idea, who blast away whole epochs in which we are enwrapped like mummies. Some are powerful enough to resurrect the dead. Some steal on us unawares and put a spell over us which it takes centuries to throw off. Some put a curse on us, for our stupidity and inertia, and then it seems as if God himself were unable to lift it.

– Henry Miller. from The Air Conditioned Nightmare

Salvador-Dali-The-Broken-Bridge-of-the-Dream
I choose this image, “Broken Bridge of the Dream”, by Salvador
Dali, because in The Air Conditioned Nightmare, Miller disparages
Dali for being only a consummate technician, but not living
the artist’s life of passion.