It is not just the Urantians who would interpret their text literally (although, I know not all do). The same practice can be found in fundamentalists of every religion. Right now in the US, a major network is broadcasting a remake of Carl Sagan's popular science mini-series Cosmos. Fundamentalist Christians were outraged that their literal interpretation of the Bible was not included in this show about science!
From an academic point of view you can call the UB's description of the beyond naive. But that's exactly the point where we meet Stockhausen who declared himself to have naive visions (in the BBC film by Haszlewood)! I mean what is MICHAELION (which I love very much) other than a playground or a naive fairy-tale? Another point: I'm observing that many UB readers love the comfort by these descriptions of the beyond when thinking of their own death. I think the churches make the mistake to speak not so much about the beyond as people would like to hear something about it. And what I also want to add: Even if the UB might seem to be naive here and there - it's theology is not. Have you ever tried to understand the Foreword of the UB? At this point even hardcore Urantians often surrender because it contains such a complex theology which is far beyond the theology of mainstream Christianity.
Passages like this one from the Foreword are precisely the type of language that I think must have reinforced Stockhausen's intuition that the book "is true":
ZitatWhen we attempt to conceive of perfection in all phases and forms of relativity, we encounter seven conceivable types:
1. Absolute perfection in all aspects. 2. Absolute perfection in some phases and relative perfection in all other aspects. 3. Absolute, relative, and imperfect aspects in varied association. 4. Absolute perfection in some respects, imperfection in all others. 5. Absolute perfection in no direction, relative perfection in all manifestations.* 6. Absolute perfection in no phase, relative in some, imperfect in others. 7. Absolute perfection in no attribute, imperfection in all.
To me, that reads like so many of his lectures or program notes. The attempt to account for every parameter, to explain things clearly, while only opening up further questions. The implication that the system is in development and will never, really be finished. It's all right there.
I have no idea if he ever read this passage in the Foreword. Perhaps his eyes glazed over when he came across such passages like so many other Urantians. (One of the most common testimonials you find among Urantians is an initial resistance to reading the book.) But to me, these passages are eerily aligned with Stockhausen's spirit.
Yeah, Stockhausen must have loved the UB Foreword! :-) "Normal" Urantians, however, give beginning readers the advice: "Don't start with the Foreword!" :-) But there's something else Stockhausen must have loved: The UB deals important topics (such as Thought Adjusters, the Morontia etc.) in spirals so that topics are dealed again and again but from another viewpoint. But that's something you only realize when you have read the UB several times.
I was curious whether the new volumes of the TEXTE contain more information about Stockhausen and the UB. Not having read all yet, I just found a remark in volume 17, p. 269. Stockhauses tells in an interview the story how he got the book but, that's interesting, without mentioning its title. Then he says (I translate): "Until 1974 the book was standing in my bookshelf. One day I took it in my hand and read the main chapter about the composition of the cosmos which the author who claimed to be an automatically writing medium, has written. I considered that to be incredibly interesting because it contained many precise names and figures. I also found an important chapter about the incarnation of Holy Michael as Jesus Christ. That was very interesting for me. I come from Altenberg and Holy Michael was very strong when I was recalling my youth. In this cathedral I prayed to Michael and I also composed works in the 70s which have a link between Michael and Jesus Christ. That's why this book is interesting." My remarks: 1974 seems to be true because that was the year when Stockhausen recommended the book to his students (see Kurtz, p. 258). What he exactly calls the "main chapter", however, is not clear to me, as the UB has no main chapters. He obviously knew about the sleeping subject who transmitted parts of the UB ("automaticallsy writing medium"). What he means by mentioning an "important chapter about the incarnation of Holy Michael as Jesus Christ" is also not clear to me because there are several chapters talking about that. And I also don't know what he means speaking about "works in the 70s which have a link between Michael and Jesus Christ". Perhaps anyone has an idea?
Link between Michael and Christ - the only possibility of a work in the Seventies should be DONNERSTAG. Strictly speaking Stockhausen did not say in this interview that he composed a work on Michael/Christ, before he read in the UB.
So far we have mainly spoken about the parallels between Stockhausen's thinking and the UB. But now I want to talk about an important difference: In TEXTE volume 17, p. 330, Stockhausen says: "LUCIFER is still leading his rebellion against GOD and MICHAEL." And that can explain Lucifer's work of destruction on 9/11. A UB devotee would not agree, I think. For the UB claims that Lucifer's rebellion is over. Paper 53, section 9, calls Lucifer "wholly inactive". So Urantians would call 9/11 perhaps a work by Caligastia, the devil, but not a crime by the imprisoned Lucifer. But the difference runs deeper. If I understand LICHT right Stockhausen sees MICHAEL, EVA and LUCIFER as some kind of eternal manifestations and if I understand the UB right that's only so in the case of Michael as part of the divinity. Eva and Lucifer, however, belong to the universes of space and time so that they are not timeless as it seems to be claimed in LICHT/by Stockhausen. Or am I totally wrong now?
Christian, that to me seems a very important theme. For me there is a difference in the way of thinking: In biblical thinking and also in the UB there is a historical way of thinking: from a starting point to an end where Lucifer does not have any power any longer. But in the LICHT-cycle there is the cycle of the week, it is a more repetitive way of thinking, though there is also an important way of development, but in the way of the spiral, that definitively has no end. It is repetition on an always higher level. But: There could be the possibility to combine the two ways of thinking: The history of salvation could be the big framework, and in it, as we live now, things go on in the way of the week, repetitively, to present to us the chance for personal development. I personally would not say that the protagonists in LICHT are eternal beings. If Michael is seen as a guardian angel or an archangel (sometimes KS goes in that direction), then clearly he belongs to the realm of creation, and Lucifer and Eve anyway are created forces, not eternal ones - though they are basic forces in the created world. If Michael on the other hand is Christ himself, then and only then he is eternal, is a manifestation of God himself. In this relation it was a very wise decision of Stockhausen not to go on with the idea of a Luciferium in SONNTAG, for that would belong to the historical way of thinking; it would not be very plausible if Luzifer appears anew in MONTAG then.
In the UB, "Lucifer is not an ascendant being" (53:1.1). He is several orders below Michael, but it is important to remember that Michael of Nebadon is only a creation of the original trinity as well. He outranks Lucifer, but he is still not an all-powerful being. Eve is a Material Son (indistinguishable from her partner, Adam), and she is also outranked by Michael. All of these creatures are "eternal" if they desire to be. Lucifer chooses a different path; so, he will be annihilated. In Licht, all three of them have characteristics of both. They are mortal in Kindheit, immortal in Festival.
I demonstrate in my dissertation how there is a clear usage of the UB in Atmen, as well as a parallel between Jesus and Michael that has direct implications for Licht.
I feel that it could be useful to have a discussion-forum on the music of Stockhausen. There are so many people from all over the world, young and old, learned and eager to get into contact with this musical world: musicologists, composers, musicians, music lovers; people who plan concerts - who write books or have to give lectures and so on. So there should be much stuff, many ideas that we can share. And when we have open questions, there may be people who studied just that and could give a hint or a stimulus.
A problem might be the English language, but i feel that is the only possibility that many people who are interested can participate. And we can exercise tolerance to mistakes!