Resonant Thoughts: On John Cage’s “Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) 


“Refuse value judgments” (21).

“all technology
must move toward way things were
before man began changing them:
identification with nature in her manner
of operation, complete mystery” (25).

“Proposal: take facts of
art seriously” (32).

“There’s a
temptation to do nothing simply because
there’s so much to do that one doesn’t
know where to begin. Begin anywhere” (32).

“What’s interesting about
minds is they work differently.
What’s interesting about one mind is that
it works in different ways. Hunting for
one thing, finding another” (32).

“Composer, who no longer
arranges sounds in a piece, simply
facilitates an enterprise” (46).

“What shall we
do with our emotions?” (46).

“Discover dialectics” (46).

“In music it was hopeless to
think in terms of the old structure
(tonality), to do things following old
methods (counterpoint, harmony), to use
the old materials (orchestral
instruments). We started from
scratch: sound, silence, time,
activity” (62).

“Two people
making the same kind of music is one
music too many” (72).

“We are not arranging
things in order (that’s the function of
the utilities): we are merely
facilitating processes so that anything can
happen” (75).

something we don’t know how to do. No
technique” (77).

“Each sound to be a plurality of
vibratory circumstances known or not
known in nature. Impossible made
possible” (89).

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