Sunday, December 20, 2015

365 True Things: 266/Rules

I don't have much on my walls: a few calendars, a Chinese kingfisher scroll, and a couple of taped-up laser printouts of inspirational quotes is all. So far. I aim to change that and put some art up, but for now: that's about it.

Collecting mushrooms in
Grenoble, France, 1972
One of the inspirational quotes is in fact a set of "rules" attributed to John Cage, the composer and avid mycologist. Yes: he was into mushrooms. He helped revive the New York Mycological Society in the 1960s, and he had an extensive collection of fungi that is now housed at UC Santa Cruz.

But he's best known for his iconoclastic musical compositions, including 4′33″ and Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano. You can hear a snatch of the latter here.

In any case, whether he wrote these rules or not, I like them, and so I share them with you here.


by John Cage
  1. Find a place you trust and then, try trusting it for a while.
  2. General Duties of a Student:
    Pull everything out of your teacher.
    Pull everything out of your fellow students.
  3. General Duties of a Teacher:
    Pull everything out of your students.
  4. Consider everything an experiment.
  5. BE SELF-DISCIPLINED. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
  6. FOLLOW THE LEADER. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
  7. The only rule is work. If you work, it will lead to something. It is the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch on to things. You can fool the fans—but not the players.
  8. Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are different processes.
  9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.
  10. We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules, and how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X qualities.
Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read everything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully and often. Save everything. It may come in handy later.

1 comment:

  1. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.:)