Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Classical music has a cult following
Classical music and an "evil cult" are unlikely bedfellows. But my fun story Stockhausen, chaotic music and communism about the oboeist of the Divine Performing Arts Orchestra proved to be a bit more serious than I thought. Several readers have pointed out that the orchestra and The Epoch Times newspaper which ran the story are closely connected with Falun Gong.
A BBC website is headed 'Falun Gong - an evil cult?' and goes on to say 'Claiming to be an ancient technique of self-development, Falun Gong is an eclectic mixture of Taoist and Buddhist principles with a sprinkling of extraterrestrials ... On 22 July, 1999, Falun Gong was declared an 'evil cult' by the Beijing authorities, and totally banned, meriting 'a serious ideological and political struggle that would have a bearing on the future of the Communist Party and the State ... in terms of typical cult techniques, Falun Gong is given a 50:50 Yes/No rating by Time Asia. While it is led by a charismatic leader, fosters an 'us versus them' attitude, and uses jargon that outsiders don't understand, it does not exert pressure on people to join, its believers do not remove themselves from society, nor are they required to donate large sums of money, their homes, jobs, and so on, to a central organisation.'
An unconnected bit of trivia is that I was in Guyana shortly before the dreadful Jonestown mass suicides in 1978. On a much more positive note Georgetown, Guyana, which we were visiting, was the birthplace of the Berlin Philharmonic's first black conductor.
Header image showing Falun Gong members is from a useful article in The Johnsonian, newspaper of Winthrop University. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk