In April of 1939, Modern Mystic magazine commissioned Henry Miller to write a piece about the work of psychoanalyst E. Graham Howe.
In the piece, Miller’s critique of his subject’s ethos is a springboard for his own broader commentary on the universality of the human condition.
In Miller’s words: “The art of living is based on rhythm — on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, ‘the dance of life,’ metamorphosis. One can dance to sorrow or to joy; one can even dance abstractly. … But the point is that, by the mere act of dancing, the elements which compose it are transformed; the dance is an end in itself, just like life. The acceptance of the situation, any situation, brings about a flow, a rhythmic impulse towards self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn. It is also the first thing a patient has to learn when he confronts the analyst. It is the first thing anyone has to learn in order to live. It is extremely difficult, because it means surrender, full surrender.”