Sunday, November 18, 2012


One evening Morton Feldman said that when he composed he was dead; this recalls to me the statement of my father, an inventor, who says he does his best work when he is sound asleep. The two suggest the "deep sleep" of Indian mental practice. The ego no longer blocks action. A fluency obtains which is characteristic of nature. The seasons make the round of spring, summer, fall, and winter, interpreted in Indian thought as creation, preservation, destruction, and quiescence. Deep sleep is comparable to quiescence. Each spring brings no matter what eventuality. The performer then will act in any way. Whether he does so in an organized way or in any one of the not consciously organized ways cannot be answered until his action is a reality. The nature of the composition and the knowledge of the composer's own view of his action suggest, indeed, that the performer act sometimes consciously, sometimes not consciously and from the Ground of Meister Eckhart, identifying there with no matter what eventuality.

From:  "Indeterminacy" in "Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage" (Wesleyan University Press, 1961)

 * * *

* * *

Illustrations:  John Buckland Wright, 1919, wood engravings from Le Sphinx (Iwan Gilkin)

No comments:

Post a Comment