Nineteen Questions

This first part of From Zero has John Cage with a stopwatch expounding on topics and persons, he ruminates, clicks the watch and proceeds. The times are less than a minute, down to “one second on Octavio Paz... Indian.” Living in New York is “finding a way of enjoying darkness.” “Chess” and mushroom-hunting are relaxations from indeterminacy, “one prefers to live.” He repeats one answer for time, clarifies another. “Postmodernism” means after Modernism, what is the difference? Something about reflections?

On opera he speaks of a German commission to write one, saying “I regret I said yes.” There is little difference, he cites Suzuki on death, in Zen Buddhism (“the structure of the mind”) between that condition and living. On himself, Thoreau and fame are reversed, “it helps me do what I have to do.” Einstein evokes a remark on anarchy by that great physicist, “but I forget which one.” “Theater” demands eyes as well as ears.

A video camera records his amusement as well as his amusing resemblance to Dan Duryea.