— Henry Miller
"The Absolute Collective", an essay first published in The Criterion on The Absolute Collective : A Philosophical Attempt to Overcome Our Broken State by Erich Gutkind, as translated by Marjorie Gabain
The Wisdom of the Heart (1941)
Context: All about us we see a world in revolt; but revolt is negative, a mere finishing-off process. In the midst of destruction we carry with us also our creation, our hopes, our strength, our urge to be fulfilled. The climate changes as the wheel turns, and what is true for the sidereal world is true for man. The last two thousand years have brought about a duality in man such as he never experienced before, and yet the man who dominates this whole period was one who stood for wholeness, one who proclaimed the Holy Ghost. No life in the whole history of man has been so misinterpreted, so woefully misunderstood as Christ's. If not a single Man has shown himself capable of following the example of Christ, and doubtless none ever will for we shall no longer have need of Christs, nevertheless this one profound example has altered our climate. Unconsciously we are moving into a new realm of being; what we have brought to perfection, in our zeal to escape the true reality, is a complete arsenal of destruction; when we have rid ourselves of the suicidal mania for a beyond we shall begin the life of here and now which is reality and which is sufficient unto itself. We shall have no need for art or religion because we shall be in ourselves a work of art. This is how I interpret realistically what Gutkind has set forth philosophically; this is the way in which man will overcome his broken state. If my statements are not precisely in accord with the text of Gutkind's thesis, I nevertheless am thoroughly in accord with Gutkind and his view of things. I have felt it my duty not only to set forth his doctrine, but to launch it, and in launching it to augment it, activate it. Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery. I am one man who can truly say that he has understood and acted upon this profound thought of Gutkind's —“the stupendous fact that we stand in the midst of reality will always be something far more wonderful than anything we do."