Monday, May 11, 2015

Leslie High School Distinguished Alumni Award Speech 2006


Like many, I have rediscovered some of my friends and acquaintances from high school via Facebook. At first I was shocked by, in my case at least, how conservative politically many of them had become. And initially they and I would go back and forth about current events, each of us believing that with enough effort we could convince the other and change their mind.  I stopped doing that, as have most of my FB friends from high school who keep in touch, because (of course) it doesn't work. Nobody changes their mind and the conversations digress to arguments quickly. But because of that lack of contact the political conversations I read from the conservative friends on FB I still have, often through a kind of "preaching to the choir," take a tone quite disrespectful to opposing points of view, typically my own. And occasionally I enter in, get pummeled, and then delete all my posts. I guess I'm a slow learner. In any case, as John Cage once said, wisely, the best criticism of someone else's work is your own work. So today I went back and found the acceptance speech I gave at Leslie High School when I received the 2006 Leslie High School Distinguished Alumni Award. Delivered at the new high school, in front of a room full of students, teachers and many of the friends and family who still live in the area, I had hoped that my former teacher Thom Ball would introduce me, as he was still teaching there when I received the award. But when he declined, my brother Eric took on that responsibility and did a wonderful job. 

This is the plaque, a picture of it taken by a family member who has children who go to Leslie High School. At the end of the speech, published below with music examples that I either played or would have played had I more time, is the photo and text I wanted to have on the plaque but the school refused.



First I want to thank Leslie High School for this honor and especially want to recognize Joann Mathews who went to the trouble of nominating me. And thanks to all of you for coming and sharing in this significant moment of my life. It's good to see you all again. And good to be back here in Leslie after so many years.

Someone once said, speaking of his "elders," an elder in this case being perhaps someone like me speaking to you at a high school honors ceremony, something like this: "When you're fifty you'll know what I mean." "I'm fifty," he said. "And I still know nothing." This reminds me of something John Cage, a composer and writer I admire very much, said when ending a lecture he gave in the 1950s with the following "when I'm not working I sometimes think I know something. But when I'm working it's quite clear that I know nothing."  That then leads me to something Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, a book that John Cage read often by a writer he much admired: "I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me any thing to the purpose. Here is life an experiment to a great extent untried by me; but it does not avail me that they have tried it. If I have any experience which I think valuable, I am sure to reflect that this my mentors said nothing about." My two favorite writers offer the best advice, in my opinion, which is that knowledge and understanding are fleeting and inconsistent and individual. I take them also to mean that we must find our own way and that beginning with nothing, rather than with presuppositions either of our own creation or more likely taught to us in places like this one where we are meeting now, is key to what really matters in life, or at least does to me. And that has to do with experience as a thing in itself, not as something that leads to knowledge and understanding, but as a thing that can be appreciated as it is.  I know as an artist I try very hard to get to a kind of "zero," where what I make comes out of a place where I've never been before, so that hopefully what one reads or hears is something new. Beginning with nothing is what I try for and it is, in my experience, very hard to do.

Well, I'm not fifty yet but I'll be forty-nine in September so I'm likely close enough. And I don't know anything either. But the reason to listen to one's elders (or contemporaries for that matter) is not for what they know or don't know. In fact, if they think they know something that you should too I recommend getting as far away from them as possible. I am interested in what others have experienced. And assuming that you are too I have accumulated some experiences I'd like to share with you today. But first this requires listening to some music, paying special attention to the "whoo whoo" chorus in the middle: 



You may be experiencing this song for the first time but there may be some in this room who might remember hearing this on an eight track player, the window of my 65 Chevy down, singing "whoo-whoo" along with the Guess Who while driving way too fast down the gravel part of Kinneville Road, that spot just before reaching the fork where the road is paved. Or at least that's how it was when I was growing up here in the 1970s. This song, as you may know, is "Bye Bye Babe" by the Guess Who from their classic album Artificial Paradise from 1972. It was one of my favorites in high school and Burton Cummings, the group's lead singer, is in my opinion one of rock's greatest singers; the Guess Who one of rock music's most underrated bands. My son Mike, who is here with me tonight, would probably disagree with that; you might too. But I get to say that with some authority because I teach the history of rock music at the University of New Mexico and, believe it or not, I actually get paid to say such things, along of course with the kind of obscure information I learned in high school, in this case that Burton Cummings isn't singing lead on this song, nor on several others on this album, an album that was not a commercial success and which is why Burton Cummings takes the lead again on their next album "Ten."

I think it's pretty funny that the stuff I was studying in high school, listening to music and reading books, anything but doing my homework and studying for tests which I pretty much never did, is now what I get paid to teach. In fact, I think it is very funny. Maybe that's what Frank Zappa, who was also very funny, meant when he said the best way to get an education was to quit school immediately and go to a library and read. Frank Zappa was another one of my favorites. I loved Uncle Meat (from 1968 but a Christmas present from my parents when I was in high school) and I highly recommend Waka Jawaka, from his jazz influenced period, and another eight track that got heard in my car a lot. I still remember driving toward Doug and Karen Gibbs' house, probably after work at Jim's Sunoco, listening to "It Just Might Be A One Shot Deal." If I had time I'd play that one for you too.


Well it's probably no wonder in retrospect that the Leslie police would sometimes follow me around town. This is dangerous music if there ever was, and as Plato insisted in his Republic, it's music we need to be afraid of, music that can bring down a republic because of its power and influence on people. I think of Neil Young's long career attempting just that whether it be singing about the murder of college students at Kent State in "Ohio," written during the war happening when I was in high school or "Let's Impeach the President" written during the war we're in right now. And maybe music made me a little bit dangerous too.  Maybe those police had a reason for following me. I do know some teachers at Leslie thought so. They didn't like me very much. and I've since found that there are a lot of young people who were like me in high school. I was too busy listening to music like Lou Reed singing about drugs, spousal abuse and suicide in a great album called Berlin that Todd Eldred gave me after a trip he took to Europe. I spent a lot of time listening to this album, an album that pretty much everyone hated when it came out, even Rolling Stone magazine which I read then like it was the Bible. Berlin was Lou Reed's follow up to 1972's Transformer, famous for the hit single, "Walk on the Wild Side"--in fact Berlin flat out is a walk on the wild side. Wildness, whether it be found in people or in nature, has always been a great attraction to me.  And kids who believe that are always dangerous, at least for those who want the world (and us) to be tamed.




Naturally wildness is typically thought of culturally as something that needs to be tamed, and that's something artists (and anyone else for that matter) should in my opinion resist at all costs. I remember in eighth grade some of us had read Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange and used the language Burgess created as a private language, a mixture of Russian and English and, as such, as remnant of the cold war thinking of the time, thinking as outdated as the thinking in charge of our country that continues to plague us now. That language was spoken by a group of unbridled and wild young people who wreak havoc on society at large. I'm not recommending doing that literally; but I don't think it is harmful to at least think that way. Out of the box that is. What Thoreau meant when he said that "wildness is the preservation of the world." If high schools and colleges knew what a radical Thoreau really was you wonder if they'd still teach him. But I digress.

My point is that all the things I loved to do in high school, the reading and listening I did,  had a lot to do with what I'm doing now and a lot to do with what likely helped convince those responsible to choose me for this award. However it had little to do with showing up for class and doing well in school. So it's no wonder I didn't graduate from Leslie High School with honors academically and it's no wonder when kids like me--and there are plenty of them out there--also don't do well. But that doesn't mean teachers have any foreknowledge about who their students are and how well they are going to do when they leave. That's partly what I meant when at the beginning I tried to move away from knowledge instead privileging experience. Hard enough to "know thyself" as Socrates famously said. But to presume to know others? 

The only thing I knew for sure when I left Leslie in 1975 was that I never wanted to teach. Thirty-one years later I've spent twenty-six of them doing just that. So much for what we know. A former graduate student of mine is here tonight and I'm so glad he came. He begins work on his doctorate in composition at Michigan State University next fall. Naturally I hope he learned a lot when he worked with me. But I also hope he doesn't think I taught him anything. After all these years, I still dislike the word "teaching" and, as my students at UNM all know, I always say that if I teach at all (and I try hard not to) I'm not very good at it. I instead like to share my experience with them, show them how I do what I do, and do everything I can to help them help themselves.

In contrast to how Thoreau felt about mentors, it is often said that mentors are important to young people if they are to be successful in college. At UNM, like other universities, we try to be inclusive in our hiring so that students can see someone like them doing what they want to do. I've had many mentors, two of whom taught at Leslie. The first was Steven Baxter, my junior high band director who went on to become Dean at the Peabody Conservatory of Music; the second was William Berz, my high school band director who was for many years Director of the School of Music at Rutgers University. I doubt that many school systems of Leslie's size typically have had band directors of such eventual stature. And I'm sure being around them as a young person, even one as cantankerous as I was, must have rubbed off at least a little. But the two mentors who really made college seem possible were nearer to home, the only two of their generation to graduate from college, just as the only two from my generation were my brother and me. I'm talking about my parents of course. They never pressured any of us to go but they certainly did everything they could to encourage it from, in my case, giving me music lessons, paying for me to go to Interlochen and the Fred Waring music camp at Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania, to covering my expenses when I went to Michigan State University as an undergraduate. But that doesn't really take into account how beneficial it was for them, more often than not, to trust me to do well and most of the time, as long as I stayed out of trouble, leave me alone and let me do my own work. Which, by the way, is what I believe is the best thing a teacher can do too. I certainly wish that instead of wanting me to leave them alone, some of the more thorny teachers I encountered at Leslie had instead just left me alone.

My parents' trust in me, then and now, is at the heart of what I think of as good mentorship. And I have taken that into the work I do with my students, students who often, like me, resist the bureaucratic, see rules as meant to be broken, following instead what that great obscure composer John J. Becker once said "Laws are for imitators. Creators make laws."  Since there may be some teachers in the room let me say this. In my experience, it has been important to understand that even though rules and regulations exist for a reason and are hopefully meant to be followed for good purposes, there will occasionally be those students who don't fit, who can't conform, whose resistance of authority is the life's blood of their existence. I've made a career out of repairing the damage done to students who come to me after having experienced things similar to what I did when I graduated from Leslie High School in 1975. I know how to help them because I was damaged too. That's mentorship in my book. It's the kind of mentorship I wish for my son, hoping I've provided him with some of that but then wanting him to find his own way in the world too. You don't find your own way by following others. As Thoreau put it "Every path but your own is the path of fate. Keep on your own path then." That's what I did. And that's hopefully why I've been granted this award.

Since this is supposed to be an acceptance speech let me close with the first thing that came to mind when I received word from Jeff Manthei that I had been selected as Leslie High School's Distinguished Alumni for 2006:

I'm accepting this award on behalf of a seventeen year old ghost who has been haunting me all my adult life. He's leaving me now thanks to you. And in the photo on your program, taken by Rodney Johnston during the Leslie High School honors ceremony my senior year in 1975, that alternately sad and angry, serious looking, trouble making and talented boy has finally found a home. Here with other alumni you have honored over the years, I hope he can inspire others like him to stay the course, remaining true to themselves and their artistry. Because that's what he did and I'm what he's become. Looking back I wish I could have told him what I tell young people now: don't take things too seriously and don't be too hard on yourself or those around you. There's a great life waiting beyond high school. And everything will eventually, if you stay devoted and patient, work its way out in the end. My being here tonight, and there are some witnesses present who have memories long enough to know, is proof of that.

Thank you so much.


For the Students of Leslie High School

Shadrach Meshach Abednego
not alone in the fire.
remember that.

Buddhist ox herding pictures
the last has two versions
one, the void of emptiness
two, a fat man returns bearing gifts.
choose the fat man.



Christopher Shultis
April 2006
Albuquerque

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Silencing the Sounded Self: Christopher Shultis and Joel Weishaus in Conversation, 1999 (Part III)

Here is the final part of the internet conversation I had with the poet Joel Weishaus in 1999, while I was living in Heidelberg, Germany. In this part, I skip footnoting sources since there is a bibliography at the end that Joel prepared for the original publication. I want to again thank Joel for his interest in my work and for making this conversation possible. It sometimes does a writer good to find confirmation in present struggle by revisiting the past. Seeing how far I've come since assures me that hard work is perpetual, progress and results an illusion, and change the only constant. No "fat man bearing gifts," nor at the point where the "fat lady sings," instead following a "middle way." Where "not this-not that" (Neti-Neti) is a place in which one can experience a continuity of experience rooted in the now that also includes the past as part of the present. For me, unlike Schoenberg, following "the middle road (that) doesn't lead to Rome," is the only road I want to follow and, in any case, "Rome" (not as a place but as the cultural identifier Schoenberg intends) is definitely not where I want to go.[1] Want isn't even the right word--it has nothing to do with want. It just isn't where I'm going, which is somewhere else altogether, a place in which I haven't yet settled, and maybe never will: a decidedly non-Shakespearean "undiscovered country."




[1] "Der Mittelweg is der einzige, der nicht nach Rom führt" as quoted in Theodor Adorno, Philosophie der neuen Musik. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1991, p. 13.
Silencing the Sounded Self: Christopher Shultis and Joel Weishaus in Conversation, 1999 
(Part III)

JW: You begin your study by saying that Cage "shied away from the matter of 'influences,' believing instead that one's own ideas attract historical precursors," (p. xvi) which is an interesting use of backward propagation! My understanding, however, is that his interest in chance operations, for which he is most famous, was influenced, and not so much by the operative assumptions of the I Ching, as by the early piano music of Pierre Boulez.
CS: Well, Cage really did love Boulez's second piano sonata and was instrumental, along with David Tudor, in getting it first performed in New York. The correspondence between Cage and Boulez is published in a book edited (and with a very pro-Boulez introduction) by Jean-Jacques Nattiez. It's fascinating stuff.
They were working on similar things at the time (from the mid-40s to early 50s), and Boulez was very much interested in the way in which chance operations, through Cage's use of the I-Ching, produced a work like Cage's solo piano piece Music of Changes. I wouldn't say that his use of chance operations was influenced by the early piano music of Boulez, although I would say that both were very much involved with each other's work at the time Cage began to use chance operations. The break between Cage and Boulez is, I think, once again an instance where Cage's work is attacked by someone who is doing something else and who cannot accept the otherness as being outside of one's own individual work. I think Cage was always capable of doing that, in other words, of being able to see his work as one part of something, rather than as an example of the work of art created in a totality within itself. I don't want to misread the European Neue Musik scene's appropriation of Adorno here because it's something I'm actually in Germany to learn more about. So I'll simply characterize what briefly follows as my (at the moment) reading of that appropriation in my own ephemeral way of dealing with the problem Susan Howe likely confronted when she published that excellent study of Dickinson under the title My Emily Dickinson.
What I mean is that the reaction to Cage in 1950s Europe, characterized especially well by Boulez, rightly attacks what they saw as a serious compositional flaw: not chance, but indeterminacy, found first in 4'33" (the "silent" piece) and the "Imaginary Landscape No. 4" for radios. Boulez, and the composers in Europe who followed him, instead preferred what Boulez called "aleatory" music. Now, I don't want to get into a long-winded musicological discussion here but what distinguished aleatoric music from both Cage's chance operations (which these composers didn't disapprove of) and the indeterminate compositions that follows (with which they did) is that aleatoric music offers the performer multiple notated choices that can be taken, that then open up the heard result--all of which, however, are intentionally written by the composer so that all those possibilities are pre-determined by the composer.
Chance operations replace compositional choices with the asking of questions within the compositional process, but then produce a fixed compositional result which is, of course, less open in the performative sense than is aleatoric music. But then indeterminate music, which Cage saw as the necessary antidote for the "Frankenstein monster" he had created with his "Music of Changes" (which, through chance operations, had produced an enormously difficult work) opened up the performance of music to both the intentions of the performer as well as, in many cases, the unintended experience of the environment in which the work was performed. The inclusion of the unintentional outside was completely unacceptable to the post-World War II European serialists in a way that I think one can, in retrospect, fully understand when considering the work of composers who thought there was a direct relation between the way one writes music (or makes art of any kind for that matter) and the way in which individuals and societies work. The anarchy of Cage's indeterminate pieces had social implications that led these composers, full of both war-time memories of the results of anarchic social situations, as well as full of Adorno's negative dialectics which saw art as a dialectically oppositional force in society, to write works that controlled as much as possible both what one performed and what one ultimately heard. These works were, at least as I read them, compositions in which the dialectical oppositions existed within--as models of society--rather than as a dialectical interaction with the world outside where model and reality would thus meet and produce the work of art collaboratively.
In closing, I want to add once again that my views on this are preliminary, and in fact I would highly recommend an article by Konrad Boehmer, drawn from a dissertation he wrote in the 1960s and thus full of the issues that I'm addressing here, that strongly criticizes Cage's work from the perspective of someone whose own background is steeped in a very sophisticated approach to dialectical thinking. It was published in the art journal October, I believe in the fall of 1997.
JW: In Silencing The Sounded Self, you quote Cage as saying that he hopes to make of words "something other than language," (p. 116) a strategy "in which words become what they originally were: trees and stars and the rest of (the) primeval environment." (p. 117) A language--still a language!--that interrogates, rather than communicates. Thus the words would be "empty," not of meaning, "but of intentional meaning." (p. 123)
Is it fair to say that the absence of intention, of control, along with the anxiety of failure--by means of tapping into a reservoir of ideas far vaster than any particular work could hope to portage--is instructive as to what makes a work of art in the tradition of experimentation?
CS: Cage's sense of what makes something experimental is pretty narrowly defined in his book Silence: "an action of which the outcome is unforeseen." On the other hand, in the same book, I think it is even the same essay "A History of Experimental Music in the United States," Cage himself places a lot of composers within the tradition of experimentalism even though they don't always fit Cage's narrow definition.
I see experimentalism more broadly although I do in my book place Cage in only a part of the tradition, as you know, by dividing it into those artists influenced (either consciously or not) by Emerson on the one hand--this is where I put the so-called Projectivists; and Thoreau on the other--where I put the Objectivists and Cage as well. One predilection I see in experimental work is an emphasis on process. And I like to think that your use of the word "reservoir" where the artist taps into a world of ideas (or experience) that is larger than the individual self would also be characteristic. I make distinctions in regards to how the artist as a medium functions in that world--either through what I call control or co-existence--but I think all experimental artists still emphasize process and the desire to experience and/or create a world larger than that of the individual consciousness. And the result would be art that is not entirely self-contained but that is always contextualized by the world around it.
JW: I'd like to interject here, with reference to the lineage you diagram. Paul Winter traces "the American lineage that extends from Thoreau through Charles Ives to Scott Nearing and Pete Seeger--voices from the 'quiet corner' of our culture, all artists who went to live with the land, built their own homesteads, and made their lives their song." So that, from his point of view, Ives extends from Thoreau, not Emerson! I find this interesting because it demonstrates just how slippery taxonomy can be.
CS: I would also add a couple of points. I think that Cage's interrogation is part of the compositional process but not found in the actual result whether he writes music or texts. He asks questions initially and then accepts the responses, or rather, at that point becomes a listener who observes the results rather than controlling them. And then again, I think that's only true until the mid-70s, which is why my book ends with Empty Words. After that in poetry, and even before that in music, Cage's intentions come increasingly to the fore. In fact, the point my book tries to make is that after Cage produces musical and textual "silence" he goes back into a place where nothing and something co-exist. I see it best represented as that moment in the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures, where, after experiencing emptiness, the last picture shows a man returning to society and bearing gifts. Or, in more directly Cagean terms, the moment after the long silence in his "Lecture on Nothing" where he says, "That is finished now. It was a pleasure. And now, this is a pleasure." Cage's work in the 1970s follows a very different project than what I describe in Silencing the Sounded Self. And it is one where sound and silence, intention and non-intention, are seen as "needing each other to keep on going."


The Tenth Ox-Herding Picture ("Fat Man Bearing Gifts")
I also think, regarding the question of failure, that Cage increasingly began to exercise his own personal taste in directly intentional ways and, in a sense, was constantly in the business of asking questions that produced results that did not fail. In other words, acceptance was placed in the context of a frame that was predetermined by the composer's own making, and thus could be subject to criticism in regards to success and failure in decidedly traditional ways. To me, it's like when my colleagues would speak of percussion as something they couldn't aesthetically judge: "I can't tell if he/she is a good or bad percussionist--I just don't know anything about percussion." Same with a Cage composition. If one is oriented to only take a critical look or listen to results--or content if you will--without taking a critical look at the process of making a piece, or the form in which the piece exists, then in all likelihood a piece by Cage will resist good analysis. But if one is capable of criticizing artworks as processes or as framing devices, something I think is pretty commonly addressed by both art historians and literary scholars, Cage's work is much more easily approached. I think, for example, that Marjorie Perloff's early support of Cage is a direct result of her great gifts as a literary critic who also has a strong interest in the arts. Musicologists would do well to read everything she has to say before venturing into a critical look at the compositional world of John Cage. And, by the way, that's something still long overdue.
JW: When Cage was [nearly] eighty years old, he was interviewed by Laurie Anderson. To her question, "In using chance operations, did you ever feel that something didn't work as you wanted?" Cage replied: "No. In such circumstances I thought the thing that needs changing is me--you know--the thinking through. If it was something I didn't like, it was clearly a situation in which I could change toward the liking rather than getting rid of it."
This mental plasticity is amazing for someone his age. It reminded me that most people become more conservative, more closed to change, as they become older. One would think it would be the opposite, that a person would become more open to change while approaching the ultimate change from life to death. It also reminded me of the Taoist sage, who is said to be born old, and become progressively younger, more creative. Thus, when Cage was in his late fifties, he began developing the compositional technique known as mesostics. Could you elaborate on this attempt at "making language as interesting as music," with reference to American experimental poetry in the latter part of the twentieth century?
CS: A couple of things seem to matter here. The first is that Cage's attempts to stay open were, I think, framed in ways that are very important to an understanding of how Cage used chance in his work. Much of the time he chose the materials that would be subjected to chance and most of the time they were source materials that he liked. Because of that, it would have been hard to come up with results Cage found unacceptable although sometimes he did and sometimes he changed the work because of that. And in my book, as you know, I, in fact, address the way in which Cage tried to "musicate" language by removing intentional meaning from it. In Mureau Cage subjected parts of Thoreau's Journal to chance operations and then ended up with something that had too much intention in it. In Empty Words, which Cage called a "transition from language to music" Cage intentionally removed sentences, phrases, words until all that was left were letters and silences thus showing us (and himself) the intentional process by which he removed intention from language. And that it required his choice to make that happen; that chance in Mureau had failed to do what was necessary to make that happen.
I think that Cage's work changes a lot after the mid-seventies when Cage finished Empty Words. And that's why I ended the book there. It's also why I concentrated on Cage and both his predecessors and contemporaries in that context as well. I wanted to present, as best I could, Cage's view of things and how he saw himself in the context of his world. Consequently, I didn't challenge his preference of Thoreau over Emerson, or the ways in which he "fit" as an objectivist by comparing things he said about his work with things that could be found in the work of others. I really think there is a direct line between Emerson and Projective Verse, and between Thoreau and Objective Verse, especially from Cage's perspective, in other words in the way that he saw himself as an artist. These are the contexts that up through the mid-seventies divide the experimental tradition, and I think that Cage's enormous influence over experimental art is, in a way, the dividing line of how the experimental tradition as a result will be addressed historically in our century. Cage doesn't serve as a connection among experimentalists the way Ives does in music or Pound does in poetry. He's a divider, an irritant, if you will, although he certainly was good humored about it from what just about everyone will tell you.
I also hesitated, and still do, to place Cage in either a postmodernist or modernist context because, first of all, I don't think that was well-enough developed historically during the time frame of my study (early 50s through mid 70s) especially not in music. And I think it is too easy to place Cage in one camp or the other in that moment in time. However, since this is an interview, and as a result hopefully seen as more speculative and conversational, if I were to describe Cage using those currently fashionable terms I would do so as follows: he placed post-modern content in a modernist frame.
I say this because I think after the mid-70s, and using the mesostics in literature and the time bracket pieces in music, Cage's work is much, much, more open to the intentional and to the privileging of the choice of content that is subjected to chance operations. That's a long story and one I'm not yet ready to go into detail about. But I am presently working on a study that compares Cage with Norman O. Brown in which I will do just that. In my book, where Cage privileges chance and nonintention, I emphasized choice and intention. Norman O. Brown, after reading some of my work, asked me if I didn't think I underestimated Cage's use of chance. And I agree. However, my intention was to show how intentional that use of chance was. In Cage's later work, I see just the opposite concerning Cage's more accepting views of intention in his work and thus I suspect (I'm not at a stage of certainty yet) that chance will be the predominant concern in my comparison of Brown and Cage.[1]
In closing let me just say that I see the subject of nondualism and nonintention as being a very dualistic subject and vice versa! I also love to pair opposites in ways that may at first seem to prefer one to the other because of the obvious fact that those opposites see themselves that way. But ultimately my own preference is the Janus face like nature of the world-where, as Cage so brilliantly put it, "something and nothing need each other to keep on going."
Works Cited
Anderson, Laurie. "Talks With John Cage." Tricycle. (Summer 1992).
Brown, Norman O. Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
Boehmer, Konrad. "Chance As Ideology." October 82 (Fall 1997). p. 62-76.
Cage, John. Silence. Middletown, CT.: Wesleyan University Press, 1961.
Cage, John. Empty Words: Writings '73-'78. Middletown CT.: Wesleyan University Press, 1979.
Cage, John. "Mureau" in M: Writings '67-'82. Middletown, CT.: Wesleyan University Press, 1973.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "The American Scholar" in The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 1, p. 52-70. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.
Howe, Susan. My Emily Dickinson. Berkeley, CA.: North Atlantic Books, c. 1985.
Ives, Charles. Essays Before a Sonata and Other Writings. Howard Boatwright, Editor. New York: Norton, 1964.
Nattiez, Jean Jacques. The Boulez-Cage Correspondence. R. Samuels, Editor. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Perloff, Marjorie and Junkerman, Charles, eds. John Cage: Composed in America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Shultis, Christopher. Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage and the American Experimental Tradition. Boston, MA.: Northeastern University Press, 1998.
Thoreau, Henry David. Journals. B. Tovey and F.H. Allen, Editors. New York: Dover, 1962.

Weishaus, Joel. Oxherding-A Reworking of the Zen Text. San Francisco, CA.: Cranium Press, 1971.






[1] As cited in part two, I published an essay on Brown and Cage for Perspectives of New Music in 2006: "'A Living Oxymoron': Norman O. Brown's Criticism of John Cage." It does not yet fully address the issue of chance in the context of their relationship to the extent I plan to include when I complete work on my book, "The Dialectics of Experimentalism" (in process).