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Seminar ListAbstract • PreparationMain Text


As in many other activities, things tend to swing between the exploitation of being 'in control' and the pleasures of being 'out of control' and the continuum of experience between these two extremes.
What is the key to the perfect state of mind? Growing up and acquiring an adult mind brings both curses and benefits. Without it we would only see the world in terms of infant-lie abstract sensory qualities, without context or meaning. But equally our adult mind can be the kiss of death for pleasure.
We use some telling phrases-'letting ourselves go' or getting 'out of our minds'. Whether it's through drugs, fast sports, dancing or loud music, we enjoyo being out of control-the passive recipient of our senses. The word ecstasy comes from the Greek ekstasis, meaning to 'stand outside yourself'.
But while the conscious experience may be thrilling, self-consciousness that you are happy is something that occurs 'off-line' once you have regained your 'mind'. This fulfilment is as important as passion. The trick is being able to turn your level of consciousness up and down. If you're stuck in a deeply non-sensory state, we call it clinical depression. People with schizophrenia, on the other hand, may be excessively influenced by their senses and the outside world. An inappropriate switching between the two extremems might be maic depression. we need to let our hair down and let our minds go, but we also want more-a sense of fulfilment and the chance to reflect on pleasurable experiences. For that you need the checks and balances of an adult mind. A perfect life is a balance between the two extremes.
Susan Greenfield, New Scientist, 2nd Feb 2002

John Cage

See also John Cage statements about control...




Main Text

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