Cage and Shhh
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This link is a precious with its story sure to exacerbate all fears of COS or Cage Overload Syndrome, along with its companion illness COS variant II or Cage Obsession Syndrome. (I am making this part up.) These two then occur together to form COS variant III or Cage Overheat Syndrome. There is also BC or Before Cage. (Okay, more politically correct might be BCE or Before Cage Era.)
Beyond just being funny…
It is as if colonist all fell apart and failed within one musical composition. Silence seems to be about the supposed elite telling the world what to do. It seems like one of those moments, like when Toto pulled back the curtain to finally reveal the Great Oz. How could John Cage “dare” to pull back that curtain! In my own thinking I make connection between being told what to do and colonialism with all it horrors.
The article (the link below) talks about a lecture Cage gave in 1948 about looking within for answers, as opposed to the arrogant colonist idea of being told by experts what “good” really is. Think of all the crime that is committed based on so called reason. I think that Silence points to the possibility of meditation as an antidote to the cruelty embedded in European history and our unabated capitalism.
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The answer then— searching inwardly— is in asking what role we have as artists and to observe, nurture, preserve, even respond to needs. This would be as opposed to the idea of self glorification and to self grandeurize. Gone then was the idea that one wins and the other losses. What is clapping BCE? Was clapping: the loser venerating the winner? What else are we to feel when someone is so talented (idolatry). Okay, so if sound and silence are now co-equals (that idea from the article, then maybe more things in life are co-equal. How about ideologies or nations; how about gender or classes of people; how about the rich and the poor or Christians and Other? Have about people vs. animals and the earth itself? Cage gave a lecture, the article tells us, in 1950 called “Lecture on Nothing.”
He asks us to consider, I think, if he always have to fear or spend our lives (violently) trying to eliminate all disorder. And think of it, isn’t disorder simple the stuff we don’t understand? And if that’s the case, does’t that doom every human being to fight all others forever? After all each one of us does not really understand all that much so does that mean all we do is fight?
The article works its way towards reflection and praise. Otherwise we’re all constantly saying things, which is a kind of dominance. Colonialism is even basically, because it implies that the rule and the leader dominate no matter where they are. Think of stabbing something with a flag (colonialism) and saying: “this is mine.” So, it does really matter where we are. We are. I m here. That is. To really be one a part of a space and time seems important to me here and that can be a profound statement. We are. We are to learn about what we do not understand.