Margaret Leng Tan, renowned pianist, and a collaborator and friend of John Cage, wrote in the New York Times – just before Cage’s 100 birthday – about her obsessive compulsive disorder and Mr. Cage’s positive influence.
Through Cage and his take on Zen philosophy, I have made a truce with my O.C.D. I recognize that it is integral to who I am and have come to accept myself, warts and all. Obsessive-compulsives are, not surprisingly, perfectionists. Yet, I have learned to relinquish the grand illusion of the goal and relish, instead, the unfolding of the process. Cage’s highly forgiving definition of error, as “simply a failure to adjust immediately from a preconception to an actuality,” has helped temper my self-judgmental parameters of right and wrong, all or nothing.
It’s a beautiful piece of writing, and a heartfelt remembrance of a good friend.