33 Cage

John Cage needs little introduction by now, but the intro to his collection of "mesostic" writings titled Themes & Variations attempt to sum up many of his thoughts into a series of aphorisms. Some of the lines might strike someone as deep and philosophical, meaningless, segments of thought, or even sophomoric lines trying to seem clever. Cage is very intelligent man who enjoys stepping outside of expectations of the norm and this piece gives some insight in a way that could be interpreted as the reader pleases.

Some that seemed most interesting or thought provoking to me:

Fluent, pregnant, related, obscure (nature of sound).

Influence derives from one's own work (not from outside it).


Right and Wrong.

Process instead of object.

History is the story of original actions.

Move from Zero.

All audible phenomena = material for music.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter (Creation, Preservation, Destruction, Quiescence).

Music and dance together (and then other togethers)

Boredom plus attention = becoming interested.

Noises (underdog); changing music and society.

Music = no music.

Cage makes several references to Hindu and Eastern philosophical thought and religion including references to Zen, Ramakrishna (Philosopher/Mystic), Moksha (rebirth related to Karma), and Artha (Life goal of collecting things). Most of his lines deal with communication, music and the world around him including social-consciousness and the environment around a performer.

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