Saturday, February 28, 2009

Music, Mushrooms and Truth

John Cage (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992), a contemporary American composer, believed that the universe is impersonal by nature and that it originated only through pure chance. In an attempt to live consistently with this personal philosophy, Cage composed all of his music by various means of chance. He used, among other things, the tossing of coins and the rolling of dice to make sure that no personal element enters into the final product. The result was music that has no form, no structure, and for the most part, no appeal. This is a video of one of his most well-known piece, called "4'33"":

Though his professional life accurately reflected his belief in a universe that has no order, his personal life did not, for his favorite pastime was mycology, the collecting of mushrooms. Due to the potentially lethal results of picking the wrong mushroom, one cannot approach a mushroom on a purely by-chance basis. Concerning that, Cage stated, “I became aware that if I approached mushrooms in the spirit of my chance operations, I would die shortly.”
John Cage believed one thing, but practiced another. In doing so, he is an example of the man described in Romans 1:18 who “suppresses the truth of God,” for when faced with the certainty of order in the universe, he still clings to his own novel theory.

(Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There.)

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