John Cage, fully John Milton Cage, Jr.

John
Cage, fully John Milton Cage, Jr.
1912
1992

American Philosopher, Poet, Music Theorist, Artist and Printmaker, Composer best known for musical composition 4'33" which is performed without a single note being played.

Author Quotes

Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.

Art's purpose is to sober and quiet the mind so that it is in accord with what happens.

A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration--it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself.

Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.

There is nothing we need to do that isn't dangerous.

Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we're living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of it's own accord.

Things we were going to do are now being done by others. They were, it seems, not in our minds to do (were we or they out of our minds?) but simply ready to enter any open mind, any mind disturbed enough not to have an idea in it.

I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing.

What is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of a paradox: a purposeful purposeless or a purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life--not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but 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.

Art is sort of an experimental station in which one tries out living.

Everything we do is music.

Our business in living is to become fluent with the life we are living, and art can help this.

It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.

Get yourself out of whatever cage you find yourself in.

Every something is an echo of nothing.

As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency.

The emotions - love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust - are in the audience.

If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.

We need not destroy the past. It is gone.

We carry our homes within us which enables us to fly.

We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life.

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.

The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accord with nature, in her manner of operation.

Ideas are one thing and what happens is another.

Author Picture
First Name
John
Last Name
Cage, fully John Milton Cage, Jr.
Birth Date
1912
Death Date
1992
Bio

American Philosopher, Poet, Music Theorist, Artist and Printmaker, Composer best known for musical composition 4'33" which is performed without a single note being played.