In early August I discovered my favorite book of this year: Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists.
Each moment presents what happens.
Why do you waste your time and mine by trying to get value judgments? Don’t you see that when you get a value judgement, that’s all you have? They are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.
Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.
—John Cage, from “The Future of Music: Credo” in Silence: Lectures and Writings (Wesleyan, 1961)
Thank you, apoetreflects.
Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos not to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.
Help me to cross the bardo’s dangerous pathway…(Tibetan Book of the Dead)
John Cage was a new or short or longer pause suppliant. John Cage was a friend to brains of the two sexes, to Buddha, to eat him, destroy him. John Cage as John Cage was, sat down. Rest not, Tetrapod! John Cage was for us as poetics arrived in pure perfection and turned and never stammered to listen, John Cage was metabolic twin listener. Staunch, dark doom that never rides. But he does. John Cage was a founder. Surprise is never barren, all over the timing world. John Cage was a culture, gaps in the cave to know Neanderthal. Hours with him, a boon. So much of a story. Fathomless medium of laughter across a dangerous pathway. He was a mosoipholon domos. And under the sun, a test of. Texts enlarge the world. Equilibrium he is good at. Pianos will teach your own intervention. Pianos will reside in silence, pianos will loom and close. John Cage was metabolism for up his mind as he called it, strength, and a case for lines. Deference no solemnity. And pluck the cactus needles. Out of reach? John Cage was and never. Then drew it out. The sign would be that, the sign would be as John Cage was and drawn. Down on the tatami. For his purpose was not purpose to be uttered outside or inside but under the sun. A cool chamber, then. Find it. Sources of comfort more abstract. John Cage was visiting. Help, a perfect abstract to a visitor all over the timing world. To have been there, you had to have been there and then not but flying. Utterly inside. Utterly outside. Are you listening? John Cage sat and then turned. Every domestic duty could be heard in and out of Japan. Everything at this season goes out so light. Did she have time? She hadn’t a single minute. This is what she thought as him. Twelve thoughts before breakfast. One a companion ever so expected a moment of pride. Two a found text. Three, story where she guessed the next moment. Four more kinds of him to have thought. Five to call Merce in the bardo over here. Six does one have greater a right to scandal than one is prepared to pay? Seven a form of communication influenced by delay and death. But held in archive. It was eight and the thought had a glamor of receiving itself. Nine, an enumeration. Ten a sharper calculation. If eleven “doesn’t he tell you things?” ever stop? Twelve is not a limit, eyes during the wonderful dinner ambitious of variety.
–by Anne Waldman
(Thanks to my friend, Alyssa for passing this along)
findout: “How to perform silence? Perhaps only John Cage could answer that because many of his musical work consisted of it. Joan La Barba is in Mexico and she assures that Cage was one of the most misunderstood musicians because of this; she worked with him for almost 20 years and still finds it difficult to perform the silence and for us to listen to it. I love his complete works for violin and piano, here number III.”
Lovely sounds for a damp, drizzly evening. Thanks findout.
Indeterminacy means, literally: not fixed, not settled, uncertain, indefinite. It means that you don’t know where you are. How can it be otherwise, say the Buddhist teachings, since you have no fixed or inherent identity and are ceaselessly in process?
…Life is filled with uncertainty. Chance events happen to us all. Each of us must take responsibility and make decisions. None of us should be imposing our ego image on others.
…there’s another way to live. Accept indeterminacy as a principle, and you see your life in a new light, as a series of seemingly unrelated jewel-like stories within a dazzling setting of change and transformation. Recognize that you don’t know where you stand, and you will begin to watch where you put your feet. That’s when the path appears.
Marking the centenary of John Cage, composer and artist: Sep. 5, 1912 - 1992…
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” — J.C.
Photo: Paris, 1981
Thank you, i12bent.
Bard College’s Fisher Center, New Albion Records, and the John Cage Trust present JOHN CAGE’S EMPTY WORDS (1974), a 12-hour, overnight event during which we’ll collectively experience a rare recorded performance by John Cage of his marathon text drawn from the Journals of Henry David Thoreau…