American author Henry Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980)), was a liberating influence in literature in the late 1950s, mostly due to his most important novels, which were banned from publication and sale for many years in the US.

Miller was a literary innovator for his brilliant writing and for developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel. In his works he blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, mysticism, explicit language, and sex. His striking descriptions of real life won praise from many other famous writers.

Miller’s finest works are Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn, and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy. Many were outraged by the more adult passages included, particularly in Tropic of Cancer, which was labeled as “obscene.”

The author had to go to court to lift a ban on his work, and in 1961 he finally succeeded. While the controversy continued among critics, the publicity helped the book become a best-seller.

This was a life changing experience for Miller – he lived a life of poverty in Paris but came to be a successful and respected writer in the United States.

Here are 25 Henry Miller quotes on the secret of living joyously.

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life. Fate is what kicks you in the ass to make you do it.

The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.

Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.

I made up my mind that I would hold onto nothing, that I would expect nothing.

The man who is forever disturbed about the condition of humanity either has no problems of his own or has refused to face them.

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.

The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough of is love.

Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.

I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.

To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.

Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning.

No sorrows, no regrets. No past, no future. The present is enough for me. Day by day. Today!

It’s good to be just plain happy, it’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss.

Surely everyone realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen.

People are like lice – they get under your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can’t get permanently deloused.

It is with the soul that we grasp the essence of another human being, not with the mind, nor even with the heart.

True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself.

I found that what I had desired all my life was not to live – if what others are doing is called living – but to express myself.

Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring.


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