Today I had an epiphany. It came from the most unusual source. I had gone the previous week to the World Market on my Monday break at work in Encino. I love that store. I had discovered for the fist time postcards by Positively Green company that grabbed me. I remembered the name, and a few days later went online to look them up only to find a great quote by John Cage that read, “we make our lives by what we love.” I wasn’t familiar with his work so I immediately looked him up and that’s where the magic happened. I was referred to a place where he was reading what sounded like gibberish from “Empty Words”. I t was strange and a bit disturbing at first, so I looked more into it in an attempt to understand why this man who was reading gibberish was held in high esteem. It turned out that he had given a name and a reason for what he was doing. He called it the demilitarization of a language. He explained it by describing Syntax (which is what makes things understandable) as the army of a language. Removing Syntax is what makes a language un-understandable and therefore demilitarized. He does this in the first section by omitting sentences, has only phrase, words, syllables and letters. The second part omits the phrases, has only words, syllables and letters. The third part omits the words, has only syllables and letters. And the last part…has nothing but letters and sounds. The purpose is to free us from language “so that we can do our living”.
It was fascinating to know that a writer dug so deep into himself to come up with such a theory. It made me realize how little I dig into my brain and how much more digging I can do. I also accepted for the first time that I had been a judgmental person all along. Until I was exposed to the work of John Cage, I would have dismissed any artist attempting to do something similar as boring and ridiculous. Now, I realize that people’s brains work differently and that someone may discover something inspired about humanity that I would never think of just by exploring a notion that may seem absurd to me. This awakening hit me like a huge weight. That I may have dismissed so many great people because I wasn’t open minded enough to understand where they were coming from, or that I didn’t look further into their presentation because it didn’t seem clear or conventional enough, is something I have to deal with. This is an epiphany worth meditating on for some time.
I can see clearly now that when people judge others they are just not ready for what the other has to offer. Not ready to accept or understand or like, just not ready. Going off that reasoning, if we wait for people’s approval we are robbing ourselves of becoming the amazing, unique individuals we are meant to be. In our life time we each have something very important to offer the rest of humanity. We just need to find it. It starts by searching and caring to understand others better in order to help them live life to their fullest potential and as a result do the same for ourselves. This is all part of living a tolerant, caring and more empathetic life.