Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Philosophy v. Music

The more I read and learn about Cage, the less I think of him as a composer. He’s really more of a philosopher who is just showing a lot of his points through music. He says, “simply a way of waking 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”.
This statement is so far away from anything the rational, normal, human part of us is used to hearing or used to understanding that its difficult to even begin to think about it. I mean, how do you get your mind and your desires out of life’s way. Aren’t your mind and your desires all that you have? Or is that his point? That we are more than just the combination of our mind and our desires.
Our society does not teach us this. We want stuff. What stuff we want describes us as a person. We all have different minds which society judges and categorizes and labels. All we are, to most people, is our minds and our desires.
I tend to think, though, of our mind including our souls, the very part of us that makes us human and unique. Maybe Cage, when he said this, was thinking about minds and souls separately. Our minds are only our intellect, our logic, the emotionless thinking processes. Maybe he meant that we should just let the other part of ourselves, the deeper part, our souls do their own thing. Maybe our souls would be OK with just being, with just recognizing how great life is as it is, without distractions and desires and logic.
I like this idea, even though I think it is totally illogical and completely unrealistic and unattainable, on earth at least. I also have no idea how Cage’s music is supposed to help us get to this point. I think that is what I am coming to realize about Cage. I like some of his thoughts behind the music, but his music itself does not open my mind in the way I think it would help allow it to do.

1 comment:

Mark said...

This story I got from the indeterminancy website basically proves your point.

"'Cultivate in yourself a grand similarity
with the chaos of the surrounding ether.
Unloose your mind and set your
spirit free. Be still as if
you had no soul.' These words come towards
the end of one of Kwang-tse’s stories
which, if I were asked, I
would say is my favorite. The Mists
of Chaos had spent much trouble trying to
come in contact with Chaos himself.
When he finally succeeded, he found
Chaos hopping about like a bird and
slapping his buttocks. He phrased
his question, which concerned the
nature of ultimate reality. Chaos
simply went on hopping and slapping his
buttocks and said, “I don’t know.
I don’t know.” On a second occasion,
the Mists of Chaos had at first just
as little satisfaction, but on
pressing Chaos, received the advice
I quoted. In gratitude,
he bowed ceremoniously, spoke
respectfully, and took his leave."

Thought you might like to know.