Crime begins with God. It will end with man, when he finds God again. Crime is everywhere, in all the fibres and roots of our being. Every minute of the day adds fresh crimes to the calendar, both those which are detected and punished, and those which are not. The criminal hunts down the criminal. The judge condemns the judger. The innocent torture the innocent… Can you hold the mirror to iniquity when it is close at hand? Have you looked into the labyrinth of your own despicable heart? Have you sometimes envied the thug for his forthrightness? The study of crime begins with the knowledge of oneself. All that you despise, all that you loathe, all that you reject, all that you condemn and seek to convert by punishment springs from you. The source of it is God whom you place outside, above and beyond. Crime is identification, first with God, then with your own image. Crime is all that lies outside the pack and which is envied, coveted, lusted after. Crime flashes a million brilliant knife blades every minute of the day, and in the night too when waking gives way to dream. Crime is such a tough, such an immense tarpaulin, stretching from infinity to infinity. Where are the monsters who know not crime? What realms do they inhabit? What prevents them from snuffing out the universe?
- Henry Miller, ‘The Air-Conditioned Nightmare’ (New Directions, NY, 1945) pp 86-87