"We have to actually lose the idea of intelligent design, because that's actually what that is. The top-down theory is the same as intelligent design. And we have to actually stop thinking like that and start understanding that complexity can arise in another way and variety and intelligence and so on. So my own response to this has been, as an artist, to start to think of my work, too, as a form of gardening. So about 20 years ago I came up with this idea, this term, 'generative music,' which is a general term I use to cover not only the stuff that I do, but the kind of stuff that Reich is doing, and Terry Riley and lots and lots of other composers have been doing.
And essentially the idea there is that one is making a kind of music in the way that one might make a garden. One is carefully constructing seeds, or finding seeds, carefully planting them and then letting them have their life. And that life isn't necessarily exactly what you'd envisaged for them. It's characteristic of the kind of work that I do that I'm really not aware of how the final result is going to look or sound. So in fact, I'm deliberately constructing systems that will put me in the same position as any other member of the audience. I want to be surprised by it as well. And indeed, I often am.
What this means, really, is a rethinking of one's own position as a creator. You stop thinking of yourself as me, the controller, you the audience, and you start thinking of all of us as the audience, all of us as people enjoying the garden together. Gardener included. So there's something in the notes to this thing that says something about the difference between order and disorder. It's in the preface to the little catalog we have. Which I take issue with, actually, because I think it isn't the difference between order and disorder, it's the difference between one understanding of order and how it comes into being, and a newer understanding of how order comes into being.
And another way I can translate that is to say it's a repositioning of ourselves on the control/surrender spectrum. I'll talk briefly about that, then I'll shut up. We're used to the idea, coming from the industrial and very intelligent post-Enlightenment history that we have, we're used to the idea that the great triumph of humans is their ability to control. And indeed, that must be the case, to some extent.
What we're not so used to is the idea that another great gift we have is the talent to surrender and to cooperate. Cooperation and surrender are actually parts of the same skill. To be able to surrender is to be able to know when to stop trying to control. And to know when to go with things, to be taken along by them. And that's a skill that we actually have to start relearning. Our hubris about our success in terms of being controllers has made us overlook that side of our abilities. So we're so used to dignifying controllers that we forget to dignify surrenderers."
"The revolutions of the future will appear in forms we don't even recognise--in a language we can't read. We will be looking out for twists on the old themes but not noticing that there are whole new conversations taking place. Just imagine if all the things about which we now get so heated meant nothing to those who follow us--as mysteriously irrelevant as the nuanced distinctions between anarcho-syndicalism and communist anarchism. At least we can hope for that. As the cybernetician Stafford Beer once said to me: "If we can understand our children, we're all screwed." So revel in your mystification and read it as a sign of a healthy future. Whatever happens next, it won't be what you expected. If it is what you expected, it isn't what's happening next."