Listening – Thinking – Walking

Happy New Year !!… I’m very excited about the fact that 2012 is Cage’s centenary year and so I expect there will be a lot of Cage related events… there is a website dedicated to Cage’s birthday here. I have just been reading about Cage and his inspiration for creating his famous ‘silent’ composition of 1952, and his assertion that all sound can be music. I thought I would share this quote about listening from Brandon LaBelle’s book “Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art” 2006, page 13 – referencing Gemma Corriada Fiumara’s book “The Other Side of Language: A Philosophy of Listening” 1990.

” For Fiumara, to recover the verb logos, over its noun, is to reinstate “listening” within the tradition of Western thought, which “starts out to say and not to listen,” underpinning her call with an ethics, for ” we are not sufficiently conversant with the attitude of openness,” which listening supports; rather, knowledge makes claims on territories of thought. “A philosophy of listening can be envisaged as an attempt to recover the neglected and perhaps deeper roots of what we call thinking, an activity which in some way gathers and synthesizes human endeavours” In the same way, a philosophy of listening for Cage is an attempt to recover neglected and perhaps deeper roots of what we call “music,” for listening may gather in the total situation of not only sound but its context, …”

Which leads me on to thinking about the ‘listening walks’  we made on the Echo location workshops.  If listening can be thought of as an attempt to recover the deeper roots of what we call thinking – then walking can also be seen in this light.

A quote reflecting this from Rebecca Solnit’s “Wanderlust, A history of Walking” p5

“Walking, ideally, is a state of mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes of the same chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without wholly being lost in our thoughts…  The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts.”

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