According to the Talmud, you are where your thoughts are. In what ways do you see this as true? (DYM I.115)

By John Allen

Composer Steve Reich created a piece titled You Are (Variations) (2004) in which he explores this question.  In an interview with Hermann Kretzschmar, he talks about the relationship between music and consciousness: 
So here I wanted to go back to Proverb and I picked four short texts. I think they are very interesting to people just because they are so short. Three of them are from the Jewish tradition, one from Wittgenstein, but a lot of people said to me they were like Zen Koans: very short aphorism that invite meditation. "You are where ever your thoughts are." That's true of people, and it's also very true about listening to music. When you are really listening your consciousness is filled with the music and where ever the music goes, that's literarily where you are. Someone taps you on the shoulder and you come back to another reality. But when you are listening your mind is filled with the music. Where ever the music goes, you go too, if you are really listening. Obviously if you are watching TV or listening to the radio this is something different. It is a truth about human beings that they can be physically somewhere but their mind can be elsewhere and that's really where they are.
Reich's musical form is called Gradual Process, a compositional technique that uses repetition and variation to cause a motif or theme to slowly evolve.  You can read his explanation here on the Columbia University website.  Enjoy his music!



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