Joe wrote: "Faith is, by its nature, an irrational exercise". I think the UB is/was an attempt to prove that faith can also be rational (that also was always the great topic of Joseph Ratzinger aka Benedikt XVI). You can see this in the fact that the UB shows (in part IV) a kind of distance to Jesus' miracles the gospels tell about. For instance the UB says about the miracle of transforming water into wine at the Cana wedding:
(1530.5) 137:4.13 But this was in no sense a miracle. No law of nature was modified, abrogated, or even transcended. Nothing happened but the abrogation of time in association with the celestial assembly of the chemical elements requisite for the elaboration of the wine. At Cana on this occasion the agents of the Creator made wine just as they do by the ordinary natural processes except that they did it independently of time and with the intervention of superhuman agencies in the matter of the space assembly of the necessary chemical ingredients.
There are a lot of these statements - and they show, I think, a square of the circle: to save faith by a rational attitude. And the interesting thing is that also the UB, in this attempt, is relativating (does this word exist?) itself and its validity:
(1008.2) 92:4.9 5. (...) These papers differ from all previous revelations, for they are not the work of a single universe personality but a composite presentation by many beings. But no revelation short of the attainment of the Universal Father can ever be complete. All other celestial ministrations are no more than partial, transient, and practically adapted to local conditions in time and space. While such admissions as this may possibly detract from the immediate force and authority of all revelations, the time has arrived on Urantia when it is advisable to make such frank statements, even at the risk of weakening the future influence and authority of this, the most recent of the revelations of truth to the mortal races of Urantia.
I think, this is one reason why on one side there are only a few UB fundamentalists and on the other side nearly no Urantian feels disturbed by obvious errors the UB contains. And also the reason why such an undogmatic person as Stockhausen could accept it.
On the one hand, I agree that the UB takes a very rational approach to religious subjects. I was going to bring up the miracles issue earlier during this discussion, because it's such a good example. Like Thomas Jefferson's Bible, the UB works very hard to make Jesus' primary role as a moral teacher. His larger, cosmic role as Michael of Nebadon recedes to the background during Part IV, while the UB focuses on crafting a bildungsroman of the world's most important instructor.
With that being said, the UB also hammers away at the idea that mortal reason is incapable of comprehending the real nature of the universe. This theme is omnipresent in the earlier sections. As pilgrims ascend, logic becomes less useful. They have to acquire the technique of mota. I think you might point to mota as an attempt to "square the circle", and I wouldn't disagree. Nevertheless, the fundamental point is unchanged from Kierkegaard. It's essentially a working out of the premise of Exodus 33:20: The mortal brain simply doesn't have room for logic and God at the same time.
It's funny that you mention the mota, Joe. For when I read the UB for the first time and came to the 28 phrases in paper 28, sect. 7, I regarded them as rather flat, in contrast to the high level of other parts and teachings of the UB. I know that these 28 phrases are not the mota themselves but I found them strange anyway. Some kind of "Kalenderweisheit" as we would say in German (calendar motto). But then I found that Stockhause wrote mota, too. :-) He wrote them in Bari/Italy on may the 14th 2006. You can find them in "Circle of the year", the thick book with Stockhausen quotations for every day, on page 272/3. I quote some of them: - The faster the communication, the less the information. - GOD is not alone. - Passing through death. - Angels are curious - but polite. - One must compose for women. - No car is good, but walking is slow. And also a nearly prophetic one: - If the end is short you are quickly on the other side.
Seems as if Stockhausen had found his own mota already here on earth...;-)
ZitatOuch, Joe! - LRH and Stockhausen have similarities??? I hope you see more differences than similarities... LRH for me is one of the most cynical, brutal and disgusting cult founders. Maybe David Miscavige is even worse but that's not an excuse. I also don't see many parallels between Scientology and the UB, perhaps you can post something about it in the UB thread...
Yes, of course, many more differences than similarities. Stockhausen was fundamentally devoted to the creation of art and sending positive messages to his audience. LRH was fundamentally motivated by a thirst for power. The fact that there are similarities between the two of them is a coincidence of coincidences. Like the list of cult characteristics you provided, many of the parallels between LRH and KS can be found with any charismatic personality.
Both were champion talkers. You can find countless examples of people recalling how KS could captivate an audience or dominate a conversation. Both were prone to exaggeration, but this parallel is unfair to KS, because LRH was a serial liar. He began with exaggerating tiny details in every story he ever uttered, and they coagulate into elaborate, risible falsehoods. In my view, KS' exaggerations are much more earnest, resulting from the kind of perpetual dream-like state that he cultivated in order to work. So, I hope no one would take that parallel to heart.
On several occasions, LRH claimed to have healed himself with the power of his mind. You can find KS doing the same thing in Cott's book.
Both LRH and KS spoke of visiting other planets and possessing knowledge too complicated for most people to understand.
Both LRH and KS spoke of reincarnation experiences that span millions of years. LRH comically would even claim trillions! This "whole track" experience is central to the practice of Scientology. KS comments about newly dead souls looking for bodies to inhabit in very similar tones to LRH.
This is where the theology of both men starts to converge with the UB. The cosmology of Scientology is so slapdash that it's hard to take it seriously. It genuinely looks like LRH wrote it on the back of a cocktail napkin. However, it is the anchor for all of Scientology practice, and it has some fundamental parallels to the UB. First, the scale of the narrative is intergalactic. The soul is not just concerned with Earth, Heaven, and Hell, but with other planets and galaxies. Second, both the UB and LRH posit that there are extraterrestrial higher beings who shaped major events in Earth's history. In that sense, both can be considered religions based on "ancient aliens". Technically, the UB does not belong in the UFO religion category (despite its inclusion in this book), but Scientology certainly does. Both Xenu and Lucifer remain imprisoned in LRH and the UB's narrative as events unfold in real time for their adherents.
Both the UB and LRH emphasize that death is only the next phase in a spirit's work. Ascending pilgrims in the UB embark on an extraordinary adventure that takes an enormous amount of time (impossible to calculate through human means). Some Scientologists sign billion-year contracts to signify that their work with the church will far outlast their mortal tenure on Earth.
As you can see, these are all relatively superficial parallels. Many similar parallels can be found in other theologies. The Urantia Foundation also had its own internal power struggles which are eerily similar to the shenanigans in Scientology, but that's like comparing a molehill to a mountain. At its core, Scientology is premised on a fee for service model which has no real equivalent in other religions. It can be a nasty organization, and there are countless stories about families it has ripped apart and lives that it has ruined.
At this point, I would expect James to chime in and call foul for discussing all this on a Stockhausen forum, to which I'm sympathetic. However, as I mentioned before, I've had many people assume that there is a "cult of Stockhausen", and people have also asked me to explain the differences between Scientology and the UB. I recently played a piece by a composer who claims to have come from Saturn. Someone asked her if she were aware of Sun Ra and Stockhausen, and before you knew it, Scientology had been invoked in the discussion. So, I think discussing these matters openly helps to dispel misinformation and get people focused back on what most of us would say is most important: Stockhausen's music!
As I said, I'm very sympathetic to the viewpoint that sees such discussion as irrelevant to Stockhausen's music. Everyone has a different tolerance for such things. I confess that when analyses of his music wade deep into the mire of theory, I often feel pulled into a separate universe that has little to do with the score at hand. This is simply the nature of theory. It's up to the consumer to apply it, or shrug his shoulders and move on.
In my experience with audiences, particularly American ones, there are significant questions about Stockhausen's spirituality that repeatedly arise. While I can't blame anyone who'd rather not hear about this stuff, I think it's important to discuss it honestly. Avoiding the issue just perpetuates misunderstandings, and there are so many misunderstandings already about Stockhausen's music. At least, with the work of theorists (and Stockhausen himself), there's no excuse for someone parroting misinformation about his work. There are many sources awaiting the curious. The same can't be said about the spiritual aspects of his work. So again, I find the discussion just as valid and necessary as a probing theoretical analysis.
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!