These rules were compiled by artist, educator and social justice advocate Sister Corita Kent, although they were popularized by composer and music theorist John Cage and Rule No. 10 is directly attributable to him. They also appear in Sister Corita’s Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit and were the official rules of the art department at the now closed Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, where Sister Corita taught. Their relevance transcends the classroom.
- Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
- General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
- General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.
- Consider everything an experiment.
- Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
- Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
- The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
- Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
- Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
- We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.