'' Consider it possible you may be mistaken".
It guides the democratic principle, it is the very basis of scientific enquiry and the search for truth, it enhances respect for others. Only religions make a virtue of disregarding it.
No, I think Facists, Communists, Nazis and the BBC also disregard it. At least the Lib Dems realise that their written and signed pledges can just be torn up when it suits them.
Another couple of bits of information re; composers' working methods. The new Bruckner 9 arrived yesterday and the sleeve notes inform us that when Bruckner died in 1896 he left behind some '200 folios containing materials from fragmentary sketches to fully worked--out orchestrations'. That strikes me as very thorough background work - just not quite sure whether all those sketches were for the 9th or maybe included other pieces? Anyone know?
Also on the point about whether composers find God, the booklet also tells us that Bruckner dedicated the 9th to 'my dear Lord'.
And thanks to DST on the Requiem thread for the fact that Zimmermann signed all his scores with the Latin inscription O.A.M.D.G. = Omnia ad majorem dei gloriam - Jesuit Motto.(Both Bruckner and Zimmermann were catholic composers as I'm sure you all know).
Nothing to do with composers, but Cromwell's words were "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."
Yes, indeed. I stand corrected. Thank you. "Think it possible" not "consider it possible" (and my absence of a comma) was a fault of memory if not of sense.
On the point of composers' motivation, it makes no difference to us whether their beliefs were based on illusion or reality, does it? It's the belief that makes the difference not the truth of that belief. For believers and non-believers alike, the result is the same.
If you want to believe that their music is greater than it would have been because god inspired it, you have some questions to answer about music composed by non-believers. Composers' religious beliefs are significant for their work but evidence of nothing.
The work is great, or it is not great, or somewhere in-between. It matters not what inspired it, what inspired it is the business of the artist in the production of the work. We are interested only in the finished product. Leave 'what inspired it' for cheap biographies and gossip.
Yes indeed Vic. I have certainly not argued that their music is greater because of their beliefs, though I suspect another member of the forum will be along shortly to tell us just that! I have stated that I find it interesting and a matter to respect. The Bruckner and Zimmermann are examples of those beliefs.
Although the thread has taken a digression which I for one don't mind - as I once said at the start of the Holy Minimalism thread - take it where you will, my original purpose in posting this topic was and still is to find out about the methods which go into the finished product. So far some interesting facts are emerging, though perhaps too early to find much in the way of patterns, regarding for example long gestation periods and many sketches being made etc...I have found this quite exciting because it is the opposite in a way of the Glazunov/Shostakovitch model - have finished work in head now must write it down!
Vic - on the Cromwell quotation, my sincere apologies. It appeared in another post which clipped the first half of the sentence, and I should have looked at the previous page, where you give it pretty much in full (and I haven't a clue what its original punctuation would have been!!). I just find it odd that a line so clearly embedded in religious politics ("in the bowels of Christ") is often used to support a turn away from religious doctrine - after all this is, as you well know, Cromwell writing to the Scots Presbyterians who'd declared Charles II king, mistakenly believing that he'd back a church established along Presbyterian lines. (Think I have that right ...). That's all.
So, the thread is on fire, with an interesting digression and valuable remarks by the creator of this topic.
Vic, Guillaume is absolutely right. Being in the business of politics (I'm not a politician) and with enough expertise on conflict management, I have to tell you that politics (actually the politics of power) is behind any war or conflict, regardless of the motivation-pretext they use as facade. By all means, religious leaders are an integral part of this power game, but only as outsiders (politicians have the actual power share and responsibility). Of course, power leads to the access to resources of any kind, management of wealth, human assets and some more.
So, there is no moral equivalence question. If you wish to fight the projected as religious motivated conflicts, give to both sides enough access to development and, then, you'll see whether they will stick to their divinely inspired claims or to any certain morality.
The certainty I have about God (the unknown), is a personal issue. It does not guide my actions, my morality or what I feel about others or even Music itself (and the Arts). So, despite my "certainty" for the divinity, I still respect and debate or work with others, listening to what they have to say or interacting with them. Alice is quite right by pointing out that "Fascists, Communists or Nazis disregard"...any democratic principle (and its derivatives) because of their ideological (see deeply political) certainty.
Alice is right also that is not the motivation that counts, but the composer's finish product, the final result. The reason I mentioned the role of the Divine was because of the topic of the thread. Perhaps, composers in their quest of the composition process, they were acting or inspired or motivated by the notion of God. The interesting thing is that those who find traces of the Divine in certain works of Classical Music have nothing to do with whether the composer was faithful believer or an atheist. Wagner is a striking example. He was for most of his life a sort of declared atheist, but his music is full of divine connotations and devinely sublime long passages and parts.
So, Mark, I'm not going to state that the composers of faith wrote greater music, but, as for their working methods, regarding the composition process, it is interersting for us to know whether they were motivated or simply acted, in a way inspired by something beyond their original or initial plans.
Guillaume, if this were true historically, and I'm not sure it is, what about conflict today? How many conflicts are motivated by religious differences?
On the moral equivalence question, it seems a pretty weak defence to argue that, yes religions cause conflict but then so does politics when the former claims to be divinely inspired, claims morality as its very basis and motivation.
Vic, warfare was endemic in the ancient world but I can't think of any major BC war that had anything to do with religion. Nor did the advent of Christianity lead to war. The barbarian tribes whose invasions led to the downfall of the Roman Empire were not in general Christian. A century or two later they were all Christian. So who converted them? Certainly not more powerful barbarian tribes but rather humble priests. One can point to the Crusades and the Thirty Years War but even there political and dynastic concerns were usually paramount. Thus Catholics allied themselves with Protestants and even with Muslims. As to conflict today, it's true that religious groups, mainly Muslim, are causing trouble in certain regions. But can this really compare with the former stand-off between the West and the Soviet bloc, which had nothing to do with religion (unless you count communism as one) but could easily have finished us all off?
Parla, if religion is not about morality, what is it about? Of course, all conflict is about power but when that power is exercised in the name of religion it doesn't suddenly absolve responsibility by becoming "political" rather than "religious". When it does good, it's religion; when it does evil, it's politics? Religions survive on such sophistry.
Guillaume, there are communities within our own borders that still promote hated of each other in the name of religion; our world is shamed by examples of ethnic cleansing in the name of all religions; hatred between religions and religious communities is rife the world over as every single news broadcast reminds us. Pointing towards purely political conflicts (like the cold war) does not diminish one iota evils done by individuals, communities or organisations in the name of something claiming moral superiority.
Religions survive by promoting differences which it claims as divinely inspired and thus beyond question. Such reasoning itself promotes extremism. The fact that non-religious conflict may be more common, or, that not all religious communities promote hatred, does not absolve it of responsibility for those that do.
The fault-line is in the belief, the absolute certainty, that it cannot be mistaken.
It is such unthinking comments that lead to trouble. I think a few seconds spent reflecting on the condition of the world will lead you to realise that there may also be a lot of problems caused by those of Christian and Jewish religions.
Having said that, I think religion is just one of the many ways in which we like to seperate 'us' from 'them'. Anything will do, gender, ethnicity, nationality or, indeed, religion. The history of conflict shows repeatedly that the conditions for war are brought about by creating a collective identity, and an enemy which is threathening to ruin that group's way of life. Add weapons and stand well back.
The communist regimes were notoriously repressive, but many individuals who identified themselves as communists did wonderfully brave things during World War 2 in helping to destroy fascism. This should not be forgotten just because of what happened after 1945.
'After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music'.
Aldous Huxley brainyquote.com
I think religion is just one of the many ways in which we like to seperate 'us' from 'them'. Anything will do, gender, ethnicity, nationality or, indeed, religion. The history of conflict shows repeatedly that the conditions for war are brought about by creating a collective identity, and an enemy which is threathening to ruin that group's way of life.
Agreed, Arbutus, but only religion claims the moral high ground on this issue. For progress on this issue compare those states with higher than average religious influence with the more secular humanist ones. Say the Northern European average with their southern or eastern neighbours, or the UK with the USA, for instance (for attitudes and actions towards "them and us" divisions). And it took us hundreds of years of secular struggle to shake off the kind of theocracy that much of the Islamic world suffers under today. Not proof but highly suggestive.
It's the contrast between the aims and claims of religion with the reality of it on the ground that undermines its own case for moral or practical superiority. It survives in conflict, discord and division, not struggles to end it (in the main), I suggest.
On the serious note of the argument, based on the findings of Mark and what I have witnessed with (minor of course) modern composers, arrangers etc. during their creative process, it is almost evident to me that there is no control of their vision, let alone the outcome. It starts as something A to end up as AB. What happens in between is a mystery that even the creators cannot comprehend.
Yes I would say I think there might be some truth in that Parla, but not for all composers of course. Some have it mapped out, and others let it go off freely - the 'voyage of discovery' idea...
Sorry, Mark, for giving more life to the digression on "religion", "politics" etc., but I feel compelled to respond to some previous posts.
I have to agree, once more, with Guiillaume as for his today's post #9, Vic. Religion is not about morality; it's about faith. Its primary reason d'etre is the consolidation of faith to whichever perceptive expression of the notion of God. The way of life, the lifestyle of a fidele is up to each individual to decide. It is not imposed by religion. I am nominally a Christian, believing in the Unknown God, and my wife is Buddhist. Both of us follow a very secular modern life, while we both respect our different ways of believing. Neither the "Christian leaders" nor the Buddhist Monks have any interfering influence in our life.
When you refer to "that power is exercised in the name of religion", you have to be fully aware that this power is "exercised" by secular (in most cases actual atheists) politicians (the only ones who have the power to change). So, there is no "when it does good or when it does evil...". When it does evil, it is always the politics, the politicians (including some top religious leaders) who have the power to make the difference (either way).
Besides, when you claim that this or that happens in the name of religion, you have to comprehend it is some twisted humans who do that, not religion itself. The ethnic cleansing wars were almost completely based on pure political causes (the word "ethnic" says it all).
Religion have survived all these centuries because of faith, not owing to "promoting differences". Otherwise, neither my Chinese Buddhist wife, nor me will be able to have eyes for each other, being quite different by definition. On the contrary, our different expression of faith contributed a lot to comprehend each other, since in both cases the triptych is the same (Faith, Hope, Love). Consequently, there is no "fault-line". The "absolute certainty" is only in paper. It cannot be "mistaken", because it cannot be "proven right" either. God, by definition, cannot be defined. So, there is nothing to be mistaken about. It is our human response to the notion of God that make us wrong or right at each particular case.
If you are worried about extremism or superiority, take a short visit to some like-minded countries and see and experience by yourself what is the white supremacy, the ethnic differentiation and the abhorrent notion of feeling so proud to belong to the exclusive club of the rich.
As for the "Islamic world", check the countries which have enough wealth and access to development; they are our best friends. The "others" have the problem. Do you thing that the recent outburst of the Touareg in Mali is religiously motivated or the ongoing killing between Northener Muslim and Southern Christian Nigerians are religious conflicts? They are pure politics about access to power share and, eventually, to development. Throw enough money to both sides, develop the country evenly and, the next day, you'll have mixed marriages and kisses and hugs among the two fighting sides. Who claims "moral or practical superiority" in Nigeria, on religious terms? Those who claim anything there are only the rich and powerful (who have always access to politics too) on both sides.
Sorry again for the digression, but I have been in this field for years and I have seen and experienced who really suffers, from whom and for what.