THE CRUDE CIPHER

EXCERPT FROM “TROPIC OF CAPRICORN” BY HENRY MILLER:

Out of the crude cipher with which he communicates from his prehistoric desk with the archaic men of the world a new language builds up which cuts through the death language of the day like wireless through a storm. There is no magic in this wavelength any more than there is magic in the womb. Men are lonely and out of communication with one another because all their inventions speak only of death. Death is the automaton which rules the world of activity. Death is silent, because it has no mouth. Death has never expressed anything. Death is wonderful too – after life. Only one like myself who has opened his mouth and spoken, only one who has said Yes, Yes, Yes, and again Yes! can open wide his arms to death and know no fear. Death as a reward, yes! Death as a result of fulfillment, yes! Death as a crown and shield, yes! But not death from the roots, isolating men, making them bitter and fearful and lonely, giving them fruitless energy, filling them with a will which can only say No! The first word any man writes when he has found himself, his own rhythm, which is the life rhythm is Yes! Everything he writes thereafter is Yes, Yes, Yes – Yes in a thousand million ways. No dynamo, no matter how huge – not even a dynamo of a hundred million dead souls – can combat one man saying Yes!

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