.......From p-28 of Henry Miller's 1957    

I am led to speak of the "Millennium" because, receiving as many visitors as I do, and from all parts of the globe, I am constantly reminded that I am living in a virtual paradise. ("And how did you manage to find such a place?" is the usual exclamation. As if I had any part in it!) But what amazes me, and this is the point, is that so very few ever think on taking leave that they too might enjoy the fruits of paradise. Almost invariably the visitor will con­fess that he lacks the courage—imagination would be nearer the mark—to make the necessary break. "You're lucky," he will say—meaning, to be a writer—"you can do your work anywhere." He forgets what I have told him, arid most pointedly, about the other members of the community—the ones who really support the show—who are not writers, painters or artists of any sort, except in spirit. "Too late," he probably murmurs to himself, as he takes a last wistful glance about.

How illustrative, this attitude, of the woeful resignation men and women succumb to! Surely every one realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen. What stays him, usually, is the fear of the sacri­fices involved. (Even to relinquish his chains seems like a sacrifice.) Yet everyone knows that nothing is accomplished without sacrifice.

The longing for paradise, whether here on earth or in the beyond, has almost ceased to be. Instead of an idee-force it has become an idee fixe. From a potent myth it has degenerated into a taboo. Men will sacrifice their lives to bring about a better world—whatever that may mean—but they will not budge an inch to attain paradise. Nor will they struggle to create a bit of paradise in the hell they find themselves. It is so much easier, and gorier, to make revolution, which means, to put it simply, establishing another, a different, status quo. If paradise were realizable—this is the classic retort!— it would no longer be paradise.

What is one to say to a man who insists on making his own prison?

There is a type of individual who, after finding what he considers a paradise, proceeds to pick flaws in it. Eventually this man's paradise becomes even worse than the hell from which he had escaped.

Certainly paradise, whatever, wherever it be, contains flaws.(Paradisiacal flaws, if you like.) If it did not, it would be incapable of drawing the hearts of men or angels.

The windows of the soul are infinite, we are told. And it is through the eyes of the soul that paradise is visioned. If there are flaws in your paradise, open more windows! Vision is entirely a creative faculty: it uses the body and the mind as the navigator uses his instruments. Open and alert, it matters little whether one finds a supposed short cut to the Indies—or discovers a new world. Everything is begging to be discovered, not accidentally, but intui­tively. Seeking intuitively, one's destination is never in a beyond of time or space but always here and now. If we are always arriv­ing and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things. Which is to say that there are no limits to vision. Simi­larly, there are no limits to paradise. Any paradise worth the name can sustain all the flaws in creation and remain undiminished, untarnished.

If I have entered upon a vein which I must confess is one not frequently discussed here, I am nevertheless certain that it is one which secretly engages the minds of many members of the com­munity.

Everyone who has come here in search of a new way of life has made a complete change-about in his daily routine. Nearly every one has come from afar, usually from a big city. It meant abandoning a job and a mode of life which was detestable and insufferable. To what degree each one has found "new life" can be estimated only by the efforts he or she put forth. Some, I sus­pect, would have found "it" even had they remained where they were.

The most important thing I have witnessed, since coming here, is the transformation people have wrought in their own being. Nowhere have I seen individuals work so earnestly and assiduously on themselves. Nor so successfully. Yet nothing is taught or preached here, at least overtly. Some have made the effort and failed. Happily for the rest of us, I should say. But even these who failed gained something. For one thing, their outlook on life was altered, enlarged if not "improved." And what could be better than for the teacher to become his own pupil, or the preacher his own convert?

In a paradise you don't preach or teach. You practice the perfect life—or you relapse.

There seems to be an unwritten law here which insists that you accept what you find and like it, profit by it, or you are cast out. Nobody does the rejecting, please understand. Nobody, no group here, would crave such authority. No, the place itself, the elements which make it, do that. It's the law, as I say. And it is a just law which works harm to no one. To the cynical-minded it may sound like the same old triumph of our dear status quo. But the enthusiast knows that it is precisely the fact that there is no status quo here which makes for its paradisiacal quality.

No, the law operates because that which makes for paradise can not and will not assimilate that which makes for hell. How often it is said that we make our own heaven and our own hell. And how little it is taken to heart! Yet the truth prevails, whether we be­lieve in it or not.

Paradise or no paradise, I have the very definite impression that the people of this vicinity are striving to live up to the grandeur and nobility which is such an integral part of the setting. They behave as if it were a privilege to live here, as if it were by an act of grace they found themselves here. The place itself is so over­whelmingly bigger, greater, than anyone could hope to make it that it engenders a humility and reverence not frequently met with in Americans. There being nothing to improve on in the sur­roundings, the tendency is to set about improving oneself.

It is of course true that individuals have undergone tremendous changes, broadened their vision, altered their natures, in hideous, thwarting surroundings—prisons, ghettos, concentration camps, and so on. Only a very rare individual elects to remain in such places. The man who has seen the light follows the light. And the light usually leads him to the place where he can function most effec­tively, that is, where he will be of most use to his fellow-men. In this sense, it matters little whether it be darkest Africa or the Himalayan heights. God's work can be done anywhere, so to say. We have all met the soldier who has been overseas. And we all know that each one has a different story to relate. We are all like returned soldiers. We have all been somewhere, spiritually speak­ing, and we have either benefited by the experience or been worsted by it. One man says: "Never again!" Another says: "Let it come! I'm ready for anything!" Only the fool hopes to repeat an experi­ence; the wise man knows that every experience is to be viewed as a blessing. Whatever we try to deny or reject is precisely what we have need of; it is our very need which often paralyzes us, pre­vents us from welcoming a (good or bad) experience.

I come back once again to those individuals who came here full of needs and who fled after a time because "it" was not what they hoped to find, or because "they" were not what they thought them­selves to be. None of them, from what I have learned, has yet found it or himself. Some returned to their former masters in the manner of slaves unable to support the privileges and responsibili­ties of freedom. Some found their way into mental retreats. Some became derelicts. Others simply surrendered to the villainous status quo.

I speak as if they had been marked by the whip. I do not mean to be cruel or vindictive. What I wish to say quite simply is that none of them, in my humble opinion, is a whit happier, a whit better off, an inch advanced in any respect. They will all continue to talk about their Big Sur adventure for the rest of their lives— wistfully, regretfully, or elatedly, as occasion dictates. In the hearts of some. I know, is the profound hope that their children will display more courage, more perseverance, more integrity than they themselves did. But do they not overlook something? Are not their children, as the product of self-confessed failures, already condemned? Have they not been contaminated by the virus of ‘security’?

The most difficult thing to adjust to, apparently, is peace and contentment. As long as there is something to fight, people seem able to brave all manner of hardships….

Etc, etc….