April 22nd, 2003
When we conetmplate death and the impermanence
of life, our minds automatically begin to take an interest in spiritual
achievements, just as an ordinary person becomes apprehensive when
seeing the corpse of a friend. Meditation on death cuts off attraction
toward the transient and meaningless activities.
June 26th, 2002
If you consider the Law of Biological Amplification,
cannabalism looks to be a very bad idea.
"If you tell a beautiful woman that she is
beautiful, what have you given her? It's no more than a fact and
it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman she is beautiful,
you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty."
December 10th, 2001
I am the past and Schoenberg is the future. Therefore
he must be right.
July 23rd, 2001
"Thinking is a man's only basic virtue, from
which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of
all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but
struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willfull suspension
of one's consciousness, the refusal to think--not blindness, but
the refusal to see; not ignorance but the refusal to know. It is
the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape
the responsibility of judgement--on the unstated premise that a
thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will
not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'it is.' Non-thinking
is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt
to wipe out reality...."
From Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged.
May 23rd, 2001
"A Russian astronaut and a Russian brain surgeon
were once discussing religion. The brain surgeon was a Christian
but the astronaut was not. The astronaut said, 'I've been out in
space many times but I've never seen God or angels.' And the brain
surgeon said, 'And I've operated on many clever brains but I've
never seen a single thought.'"
From the book, Sophie's World by Jostein
November 26th, 2000
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy,
a quickening, that is translated through you in action, and because
there is only of of you in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium
and will be lost."
October 31st, 2000
"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness,
or perhaps of subconsciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure
that it is the antithesis of self-consciousness." -Aaron Copland
September 10th, 2000
"The statue is already in the stone, has been
in the stone since the begining of time, and the sculptor's job
is to see it and release it by carefully scraping away the excess
This quote lies in juxtaposition with any art.
I think of it in terms of improvising. I've been giving a lot of
thought on how to unlock the creativity people are innately born
with and I plan to post further material on this subject.
May 29th, 2000
No matter how Useful we may be, sometimes it takes
us a while to recognize our own value. This can be illustrated by
the Chinese story of The Stonecutter:
There was once a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied
with himself and with his position in life.
One day, he passed a wealthy merchant's house,
and through the open gateway, saw many fine possessions and important
visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought
the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could
be like the merchant. Then he would no longer have to live the life
of a mere stonecutter.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant,
enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of, envied
and detested by those less wealthy than himself. But soon a high
official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants,
and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how
wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful
that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could
be a high official!"
Then he became the high official, carried everywhere
in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all
around, who had to bow down before him as he passed. It was a hot
summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky
sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky,
unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!"
he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"
Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on
everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers.
But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that
his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful
that storm cloud is!" he though. "I wish that I
could be a cloud!"
Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and
villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was
being pushed away by some great force, and realized that is was
the wind. "How powerful it is!" he though. "I wish
that I could be the wind!"
Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the
roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below
him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not
move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it--a huge, towering
stone. "How powerful that stone is!" he thought. I wish
that I could be a stone!"
Then he became the stone, more powerful than anything
else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer
pounding a chisel into the solid rock, and felt himself being changed.
"What could be more powerful than I, the stone?" he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.
-From Benjamin Hoff's, The Tao of Pooh.
February 15th, 2000
"If you are able to free yourself through
expression in music, it must be jazz. And even the greatest players
are only fortunate enough to experience that freedom for a couple
of minutes at a time. Jazz is the only music in the Western world
in which the most risk yields the greatest results."
December 17th, 1999
Without technique there is no art. Yet technique is part of the
service economy; it does not manufacture goods but facilitates their
production. When technique becomes an end in itself, the result
is music reduced to scales, chords, arpeggios, trills, octaves,
leaps, and other tools of the piano garage. In place of musical
ideas and their elaborations, a sequence of skills and formulas
is presented, the packaging of the ideas of substituting for their
content. Technique then becomes wholly methodical, a set approach
to a set list of technical problems involving all pianistic materials,
and thus further away from the ideal of servicing the musical imagination.
October 13th, 1999
"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine