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Offline Neil Obstat

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Music and its effect on how people view religion
« on: August 22, 2018, 01:29:02 PM »
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    Here is a video on YouTube that plays Mozart's 23rd Piano Concerto in A, K488, followed by two comments from viewers:
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    This video was posted in 2011 and since then has been viewed 2,456,808 times, has received 8.1K likes, 392 dislikes, and 870 comments.
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    The first comment from 4 years after the video was published, from WritetheWrongs, has received 397 upthumbs, and 58 Replies over the past 3 years, during which time WritetheWrongs has returned several times to thank respondents and to report on his impressions after following their advice regarding which other Mozart works he should hear next.
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    I am pasting in this comment with a link to its location so you can go read it in context if you'd like that. I found his comment very unusual in its benevolence, simplicity and honesty. Other viewers had similar impressions of this top comment, which is why it's on the top of the comment list (sorted for "Top Comments").
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    WritetheWrongs
    WritetheWrongs   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMYjGkgzinU&lc=Uggack0af_LrvXgCoAEC   3 years ago

    So I have no musical knowledge whatsoever; please bear with me here.
    It's just that I heard that listening to Mozart was good for focus, so I picked a song at random and started listening to this. I was doing my work and just letting this stroll along the background of my concentration when all of a sudden it hit me that someone had to actually make this.
    I mean, obviously someone had to make it, but I only just registered the work it must've taken. This wasn't just a little rhythm tapped out on a tabletop one day. Someone actually sat down and put real effort into making this beautiful piece of music that I am now ruining with the clacking of my keyboard. Someone put real feelings and hours of aching fingers and frustrating slip-ups into creating this, and it's wonderful. Even to someone like me, who probably couldn't tell a banjo from a guitar unless you showed them to me, this is absolutely lovely.
    I didn't really have a point to this comment. It was just such a surprising and interesting realization for me that I thought I'd share.
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    [About halfway down the list of Replies...]
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    Donald Edward
    Donald Edward  2 years ago
    Me too, WritetheWrongs. I love music and until I got older could never afford to go to concerts. Except the occasional opera in the cheap seats when I lived in London. I never had the chance to study music but as I said I love it. Now I watch and listen on You Tube to world famous violinists, guitarists and pianists play with great orchestras concertos and symphonies by people everybody has heard of. Some are  really  young kids. They can memorize whole works and play them to my ears to absolute perfection and I think how many hours they must have spent learning the instrument and studying that piece and I am absolutely amazed at it all.  How marvelous is Homo Sapiens (I majored in economics and anthropology). As an aside I heard the other day that a famous cleric said that chess was a waste of time and listening to music was a minor sin because it took time away from his prayers. I thought, "Wow! Poor guy."
    I have heard that Mozart could listen to a piece of choral music lasting maybe 20 minutes and sit down and write out all the parts correctly. We have come a long way in a few thousand years or even a few hundred if you are thinking musically.
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    My response to these:
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    There are a lot of intelligent replies to this top comment, which goes to show the diversity of Mozart fans, since his music affects different people in different ways. I found this string of comments to be rather uplifting because of its depiction of the change of heart that has occurred in listeners of Mozart's works.
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    The key point I'd like to make here is in this reply, above, by Donald Edward, where he implies that a "famous cleric" was somehow missing out by thinking that "listening to music was a minor sin because it took time away from his prayers." Sounds like something a saint would say!
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    This goes to show how clueless people are by NATURE regarding the joys of the contemplative life, and the appreciation one in the state of grace can have by the practice of the virtue of attending to one's daily duty, which for a cleric is obedience to the proper practice of his prayer life.
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    All the great saints and mystics agree that the ecstasy of deep prayer and meditation (an abused word thanks to false religions) cannot be so much as approximated by the more mundane and earthly pleasures of the fine arts or even less by those corporal.
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    In fact, they assure us on the contrary, that any degree of appreciation man can attain of such earthly things in this life is but a faint clue of the other-worldly treasures of contemplative prayer, which in turn is but a reflection of what will be the eternal beatitude of the elect in the magnificence and glory of paradise that is heaven.
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: Music and its effect on how people view religion
    « Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 07:09:16 PM »
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    Seeing what I wrote above later, it occurred to me that it might have been misleading. Where I have, "My response to these," what I mean to say is, the following is my response for the CathInfo audience, not for the YouTube audience, because having like-minded readers is a great luxury and I am willing to say things on CI that I would never put on YouTube. I can (hopefully) read replies here that are edifying, an aid to contemplation, or good advice from a Catholic who has had a similar challenge in the past, even if I don't specifically mention what challenges there have been in fact, for myself or for those I know.
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    Try talking about meditation on YouTube and see what you get. 
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    Try explaining to anyone on YouTube that a faithful prayer life can produce fruits of inestimably greater benefits than any appreciation of fine art can. 
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    Try telling an alcoholic that contemplating the Crucifixion of Our Lord without a drink of anything but water for 7 days straight can be a glorious experience and they'll think you're from the planet Xenon. 

    Certainly, non-members can read this and you might wonder how I can be so smugly sure I won't be peppered with inane replies from know-nothings. My answer is yes, they can read this thread but they can't post a reply unless they're a member of CI.
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