I have used this maxim (signed J.C) in a sundial at Marennes (F-Rhône). The signature of a maxim, I believe, has little to do with intellectual property but may pave the way for known accessible references and convey the idea that the maxim is a “good popular word”. In this case, I merely wanted to play with the messianic amused relationship of the writings of John Cage and his initials. I doubt that anyone has spontaneously make this link until now.
Surely it is not essential to question the links of such a phrase with vast and complex contexts to find a good maxim. The aim here, besides describing my own working method, is to mistrust the "common sense" displayed in the use of proverbs and to suggest that sundials may be considered sophisticated instruments through their three-fold relationship with science, art and philosophy.
Another example: a quoted phrase from Ilya Prigogine today and more particularly the mention of his name would certainly raise many remarks by scientists passing in front of the dial especially since its “time arrow” at the heart of theoretical physics raises a number of questions … In a case like this the dial must be perfectly accurate scientifically.
To quote a verse from Apollinaire, without signing is, on the dial of a home skilfully restored in a mountain village does not produce the same effect as on the facade of a suburban college. The list of maxims collected on this site therefore remains pending given various contexts of potential dials, which prevents it from finding here an initial genetic readability.