Filling the Void

A New Search
Advent 22
Baby Food Bundt Cake

Music is considered a universal language. It actually is considered an intergalactic language since music has been the language used on space probes to illustrate to any life forms that might be encountered that an intelligent species sent the probe from planet Earth. While there are differing tonalities which are quite evident and assist in indentifying the culture from which a folk song originated, all music shares some commonality – the musical tone.

A musical tone or note is identified by its pitch, a specific frequency measured in the number of cycles or vibrations per second. If you have ever attended a symphonic orchestra concert, you might have heard the musicians tuning their instruments to a specific tone before the concert. The tuning pitch is known as A’, the second note to the left of Middle C on a piano keyboard. It is also called A-440 because it has 440 cycles per second.

The ration of distance between two pitches is called an interval. Notes with a ratio of small numbers or integers are thought to sound good together and are considered consonant, although this is really a subjective determination. Those with a larger ratio are called dissonant and are not as pleasing to the human ear. A scale of twelve tones was developed as it was found to contain all seven of the basic consonant intervals while having more consonant intervals than dissonant intervals. In other words, it was very pleasing to the basic person.

However, as mentioned before, cultural identifying markers are found on the folk songs of different regions. Indonesian music employs what is known as an equal-spaced five tone scale called a gamelan slendro scale. Indian music uses a twenty-two scale known as a shruti scale and Arabic and Middle Eastern music uses a twenty-four tone scale. Even the music of the Western world used other scales. Debussy used a six tone scale known as the whole tone scale while other composers like Boulez and Ives used a quarter-tone scale. The Composer Hyugens, from the Netherlands, increased popularity of using a thirty-one equal-tempered scale. It is still all music, all using the same pitches based upon the same frequencies, just interpreted differently.

The so-called “new religions” of the world have done similar things to the ancient beliefs of man. Just as one can get bogged down in trying to find one universal definition for the word religion or theology, the designation for what a new religion is can be equally as daunting. Generally referred to as new religious movements, it is considered that a new religion must be of a more recent origin (which can mean anything after the fifteenth century) and have major differences from existing religions or spiritualities. However, just as all the various scales used in music are based upon the same basic pitches, there are some inescapable common themes in all religions. Thus, some new religions are those which had different interpretations and thus different creeds than the original religious sect from whence they came. Other new religions are belief systems similar to older ones but have resurfaced in new locations outside of their cultural beginning.

Like the more conventionally known religions, new religions vary in their types and forms of leadership, their concept of family, the role gender plays in the faith, their organization, and their definition of deities, if in fact any exist. Thus, some new religions are sometimes viewed as fusion religions and vice versa. While based upon beliefs that comprise Christianity, the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are classified by some as new religions. Even the Shaker Movement of the eighteenth to early twentieth century is considered a new religious movement by many.

A book published in the 1950’s written by L. Ron Hubbard led to the new religion of Scientology. Scientology encourages an improvement of human awareness and functioning so that secrets of the universe might be revealed. It incorporates the scientific process of bio-feedback in erasing one’s past negative experiences that cloud the psych and prevent future progress and success. The Rastafarian Movement is a new religion of the 1930’s originating in Ethiopia. It proclaimed Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, as its prophet and preached that God would redeem all black people from oppression by white people. The history of Africa is paramount to this religion and it speaks of the unification of black families, torn apart by slavery and the colonization of Africa by other countries, as black people are said to return to Africa. Rastafarians live simply, using only herbal medicine, eating a vegetarian diet, and known by their trademark dreadlocks. Shinshukyo is another new religion which practices a fusion of rituals. A birth is marked by a Shinto ceremony and funerals are held in the Buddhist tradition. Shinshukyo refers more to the reemergence of religion rather than to specific belief systems and has been marked by the fanaticism of a few. Soju Gakkai is a new Japanese religion which incorporates the reading of the Buddhist Lotus Sutra but believes in more concrete benefits than just spiritual ones. Various Christian cults have also emerged as new religions but these also have fallen victim to the fanaticism of their leaders.

Rejecting the organized scales of twelve tones that Western and his native German composers had used for centuries, Arthur Schoenberg composed music using the same twelve tones of the musical scale but ignoring the accepted tonalities of the major and minor scales. By manipulating the twelve tones into seemingly random patterns, Schoenberg invented a new style of musical composition, the twelve-tone style. Wisely he used repetitive motifs or patterns, similar to the repeated themes found in the fugues first composed by Bach to teach scales to his students. This new type did not meet instant success, though. Much like the new religions of the world and even the older ones, it also met criticism and even persecution. Audiences were known to walk out of his performances. “The Rites of Springs”, now hailed as perhaps the most influential piece of the twentieth century and in all of music, was never heard in its entirety during its first performance because the audience left in disgust.

Whether or not all new religions will last as long as some of the others we have studied is a question for time. What is a certainty is that religion has been around as long as man has and so has science. Do the three coexist?

Baby Food Bundt Cake
Just as religion filled a void in the lives of man, a Minnesota man filled a void with…a void. He answered a request to make a kugelhopf pan, reminiscent of the ceramic cake pans used in Europe. Kugelhopf, also called Gugelhupf and many other named based upon the nationality, is a yeast cake formed in the shape of a torus which is a circular ring-shaped form. H. David Dalquist came up with an aluminum cake pan that would bake a cake into a ring shape. Rather than the traditional round cake that was solid all the way across, Dalquist’s cake form caused the cake to bake into a ring form. He named it after a German word for “bundled” since the batter was bundled around the empty void in the middle of the tube pan. However, that was also the name of a pro-Hitler ethnic group in Germany so he added a “t” to the name which went from “bund” to “bundt”, word that fittingly means…nothing.
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 small jars of plum or banana baby food
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
3 eggs
Mix all ingredients except nuts in bowl until thick and creamy. Stir in nuts. Bake in a greased tube (Bundt) pan for one hour in a 350-degrees Fahrenheit oven.

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