17 mar. 2010

What I'm trying to do is find a theory of receptivity that doesn't reinscribe the binary opposition between things that are worth listening to and things that aren't. Receptivity implies openness, but in practice there are things I don't even want to be open to.

For example, I am very interested in John Cage. He seemed someone who wanted to open up his ears to hear things differently, with fewer preconceptions. Yet being open to Cage, and Cage's message of openness, is itself a choice that distinguishes me from other people. I also might be guilty of being closed to Mary Oliver, for example. Cage was interested in some things and not in others.

I have to figure out whether it means stretching the limits of my tolerance, or going in one direction toward a receptivity to what's truly significant, however I define that. Almost everyone seems to need a whipping boy. Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about that, but I've made part of my career by denouncing a certain kind of mediocrity. That seems to be necessary in my psychological equilibrium.

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