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Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-8

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:38 am
by alberich00
[P. 306] {FEUER} “ … I remain convinced that my Lohengrin (according to my own conception of it) symbolizes the most profoundly tragic situation of the present day, namely man’s desire to descend from the most intellectual heights to the depths of love, the longing to be understood instinctively, a longing which modern reality cannot yet satisfy.”
(…) This is where my art must come to the rescue: and the work of art that I had no choice but to conceive in this sense is none other than my Nibelung poem.” [612W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 306


[P. 306] For me my poem has only the following meaning:
{FEUER} Depiction of reality in the sense indicated above. – Instead of the words:
‘a gloomy day dawns on the gods: in shame shall end your noble race, if you do
not give up the ring!’ I now make Erda say merely: ‘All that is – ends: a gloomy
day dawns on the gods: I counsel you, shun the ring!’ – We must learn to die, and
to die in the fullest sense of the word: fear of the end is the source of all
lovelessness, and this fear is generated only when love itself is [P. 307] beginning
to wane. {FEUER} How did it come about that a feeling which imparts the highest
bliss to all living things was so far lost sight of by the human race that everything
that the latter did, ordered and established was finally conceived only out of a fear
of the end? My poem shows the reason why. It shows nature in all its undistorted
truth and essential contradictions, contradictions which in their infinitely varied
manifestations embrace even what is mutually repellent.” [613W-{1/25-26/54}
Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 306-307]



[P. 307] {FEUER} “ … the remainder of the poem is concerned to show how
necessary it is to acknowledge change, variety, multiplicity and the eternal newness
of reality and of life, and to yield to that necessity. Wodan rises to the tragic heights
of willing his own destruction. This is all that we need to learn from the history of
mankind: to will what is necessary and to bring it about ourselves. {FEUER} The
final creative product of this supreme, self-destructive will is a fearless human
being, one who never ceases to love: Siegfried. – That is all.” [615W-{1/25-26/54}
Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 307]


[P. 307] “ … the pernicious power that poisons love is concentrated in the gold that is stolen from nature and put to ill use, the Nibelung’s ring: the curse that clings to it is not lifted until it is restored to nature and until the gold has been returned to the Rhine. This, too, becomes clear to Wodan only at the very end, once he has reached the final goal of his tragic career; in his lust for power, he had utterly ignored what Loge had so frequently and so movingly warned him of at the beginning of the poem; initially – thanks to Fafner’s deed – he learned to recognize the power of the curse; but not until the ring proves the ruin of Siegfried, too, does he see that only by restoring to the Rhine what had been stolen from its depths can evil be destroyed, and that is why he makes his own longed-for downfall a pre-condition of the extirpation of a most ancient wrong. Experience is everything.“ [616W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 307]


[P. 307] {FEUER} “Not even Siegfried alone (man alone) is the complete ‘human being’: he is merely the half, only with Bruennhilde does he become the redeemer: one man alone cannot do everything; many are needed, and a suffering, self-immolating woman finally becomes the true, conscious redeemer: for it is love which is really ‘the eternal feminine’ itself.” [617W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 307]


[P. 308] “ … I believe it was a true instinct that led me to guard against an excessive eagerness to make things plain, for I have learned to feel that to make one’s intentions too obvious risks impairing a proper understanding of the work in question; in drama – as in any work of art --, it is a question of making an impression not by parading one’s opinions but by setting forth what is instinctive. It is precisely this that distinguishes my poetic material from the political material which is virtually all that is current today.” [618W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 308]
[P. 308] {FEUER} “ … my hero should not leave behind the impression of a totally unconscious [P. 309] individual: on the contrary, in Siegfried I have tried to depict what I understand to be the most perfect human being, whose highest consciousness expresses itself in the fact that all consciousness manifests itself solely in the most immediate vitality and action: the enormous significance I attach to this consciousness - which can almost never be stated in words – will become clear to you from Siegfried’s scene with the Rhine-daughters; here we learn that Siegfried is infinitely wise, for he knows the highest truth, that death is better than a life of fear: he, too, knows all about the ring, but pays no heed to its power, because he has better things to do; he keeps it simply as a token of the fact that he has not learned the meaning of fear. You will admit that all the splendour of the gods must inevitably grow pale in the presence of this man.“ [620W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 308-309]


[P. 310] {FEUER} “ … if you shudder at the thought that this woman [Bruennhilde] should cling to this accursed ring as a symbol of love, you will feel exactly as I intended you to feel, and herein you will recognize the power of the Nibelung curse raised to its most terrible and most tragic heights: only then will you recognize the need for the whole of the final drama, ‘Siegfried’s Death’. This is something we must experience for ourselves if we are to be made fully conscious of the evil of gold. Why does Bruennhilde yield so quickly to Siegfried when he comes to her in disguise? Precisely because the latter has torn the ring from her finger, since it was here alone that her whole strength lay.” [622W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 310]


[P. 310] “It worried me that you could have so totally misunderstood certain aspects. But it certainly made clear to me that only when completed could the work hope to avoid being misunderstood: having then been seized by a violent desire to begin the music, I cheerfully abandoned myself to that urge before finally starting this letter. The completion of the Rhinegold (a task as difficult as it was important) has restored my sense of self-assurance, as you can see. I have once again realized how much of my work’s meaning (given the nature of my poetic intent) is only made clear by the music: I can now no longer bear to look at the poem without the music.” [623W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 310]


[P. 312] {anti-FEUER} “I am not so out of touch with nature as you suppose, even though I myself am no longer in a position to have scientific dealings with it. (…) It is only when nature is expected to replace real life – love – that I ignore it. In this respect I resemble Bruennhilde with the ring. I would rather perish or be denied all enjoyment than renounce my belief.” [624W-{1/25-26/54} Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 312]


[P. 509] {SCHOP} [Wagner, speaking of Arthur Schopenhauer’s book The World as Will and Idea, which he had just read, states that:] “I was alarmed, as will be everyone in my frame of mind, by the moral principles with which he caps the work, for here the annihilation of the will and complete self-abnegation are represented as the only true means of redemption from the constricting bonds of individuality in its dealings with the world. For those seeking in philosophy their justification for political and social agitation on behalf of the so-called ‘free-individual’, there was no sustenance whatever here, where what was demanded was the absolute renunciation of all such methods of satisfying the claims of the human personality. At first, this didn’t sit well with me at all, and I didn’t want to abandon the so-called ‘cheerful’ Greek view of the world which had provided my vantage point for surveying my ‘Art-work of the Future’;. Actually, it was Herwegh who made me reflect further on my own feelings with a well-timed word. This insight into the essential nothingness of the world of appearances, he contended, lies at the root of all tragedy, [P. 510] and every great poet, and even every great man, must necessarily feel it intuitively. I looked at my Nibelung poems and recognized to my amazement that the very things I now found so unpalatable in the theory were already long familiar to me in my own poetic conception. Only now did I understand my own Wotan myself and, greatly shaken, I went on to a closer study of Schopenhauer’s book. I now saw that before all else I had to comprehend the first part of the work, which elucidates and enlarges upon Kant’s doctrine of the ideality of the world, which hitherto had seemed so firmly grounded in time and space. (…) Its gradual effect on me was extraordinary and, at any rate, decisive for the rest of my life. Through it, I was able to judge things which I had previously grasped only intuitively … .” [625W-{9-10/54} ML: p. 509-510]


[P. 319] {anti-FEUER} {SCHOP} “… let us treat the world only with contempt; for
it deserves no better: but let no hopes be placed in it, that our hearts be not
deluded! It is evil, evil, fundamentally evil, only the heart of a friend and a
woman’s tears can redeem it from its curse. But nor can we respect it like this, and
certainly in nothing that resembles honour, fame – or whatever else these foolish
things are called. – It belongs to Alberich: no one else!! Away with it! (…) I hate
all appearances with lethal fury: I’ll have no truck with hope, since it is a form of
self-lying.” [627W-{10/7/54}Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 319]


[P. 73] {FEUER} {SCHOP} “Ah, we are all holy martyrs; perhaps I shall one day be a real one, but in that case all will be over for me with art – that beautiful delusion, the last and the most sublime, to hide from us the misery of the world.” [629W-{3/55}Letter to Franz Liszt: CWL, p. 73]


[P. 338] {FEUER} {SCHOP} “… all I could probably … become, were I really able to break free from my art, would be a Schopenhauerian saint! Well, I need not worry on that score, since as long as there is a glimmer of life in me, these artist’s illusions of mine will almost certainly not release their hold on me; they are really a kind of decoy with which my instinct for self-preservation repeatedly lures my better judgment into its service. I can really imagine nothing pure and clear that is not immediately contaminated by such images and which, once my insight has passed, repeatedly makes me an artistic visionary once again. The stupidest thing of all is that I can see all this quite clearly and know that I am always the victim of a certain delusion, but, instead of perceiving this delusion as such and protecting myself against it, I allow this, too, to become an image which provokes me with the outline and colour I need to portray it, at which point I then turn round to face life once more in all its most sensual and captivating impressions and connections, in order that the dance may start up all over again.
{FEUER} {SCHOP} And so this artistic nature of mine is very much a daemon which repeatedly blinds me to the clearest insights and draws me into a maelstrom of confusion, passion and folly, and, finally, restores me to a world which I had really overcome long ago and whose nullity and emptiness is perhaps more obvious to me than it is to many others … . And so there are often moments in my life when I feel so completely annihilated by this insight that I suddenly begin to ask myself whether I can go on living. You will perhaps laugh when I tell you that such moments occur above all when I see an animal being tormented: I cannot begin to describe what I then feel and how, as if by magic, I am suddenly permitted an insight into the essence of life itself in all its undivided coherency, an insight which I no longer see as mawkish sentimentality but which I recognize as the most genuine and profound way of looking at things, which is why I have taken such a great liking to Schopenhauer in particular, because he has instructed me on these matters to my total satisfaction (?).
[P. 339] {FEUER} {SCHOP} It is at moments such as these that I see the ‘veil of Maya’ completely lifted, and what my eyes then see is terrible, so dreadful that – as I say – I suddenly ask myself whether I can go on living; but it is at this moment that another veil descends, a veil which – however dissimilar it may appear – is ultimately always the same ‘veil of Maya’, in all its artistic forms, which casts me back into the world of self-deception where – gladly (because necessarily), I freely admit, -- I then allow myself to become entangled, often to the point of utter distraction.” [630W-{5/12/55}Letter to Jacob Sulzer: SLRW, p. 338-339]


[P. 343] {FEUER} “In the Ninth Symphony (as a work of art), it is the last movement with its chorus which is without doubt the weakest section, it is important only from the point of view of the history of art since it reveals to us, in its very naïve way, the embarrassment felt by a real tone-poet who (after Hell and Purgatory) does not know how finally to represent Paradise. And indeed, my dearest Franz, there is a considerable difficulty with this ‘Paradise’, and if there is anyone who can confirm this for us, it is – remarkably enough – Dante himself, the singer of a Paradiso which I have no doubt is similarly the weakest part of his Divine Comedy. I have followed Dante through Hell and Purgatory with the deepest fellow-feeling; having emerged from the pit of hell, I washed myself with fervent emotion, together with the poet, at the foot of Mount Purgatory – in the waters of the sea, I then savoured the divine morn, the pure air, rose up from one cornice to the next, mortified one passion after another, struggled to subdue my wild instinct for survival, until I finally stood before the flames, abandoned my final wish to live and threw myself into the fiery glow in order that, sinking into rapt contemplation of Beatrice, I might cast aside my entire personality, devoid of will. But that I was roused once more from this ultimate self-liberation in order, basically, to revert to being what I had been before, simply in order that, on the basis of the most laboured sophisms unworthy of a great mind, and of what I can call only the most infantile inventions, the Catholic doctrine of a God who, for his own self-glorification, has created the existential hell that I have had to suffer should be confirmed in this highly problematical and, for my own part, utterly unacceptable way – this has left me feeling very unsatisfied.” [632W-{6/7/55}Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 343]


[P. 344] {FEUER} “The really perplexing problem among all these other questions is always how, in this terrible world of ours, beyond which there is only nothingness, it might be possible to infer the existence of a God who would make life’s immense sufferings merely something apparent, while the redemption we long for is seen as something entirely real that may be consciously enjoyed. This may not be a problem for philistines – especially for the English variety: the reason they get on so splendidly with their God is because they enter into a contract with Him, according to whose terms they have to fulfil a certain number of contractual points, so that, finally, as a reward for various shortcomings in this world, they may enjoy eternal bliss in the world to come. But what do we have in common with such vulgar ideas?” [633W-{6/7/55}Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 344]


[P. 345] {SCHOP} “… the true geniuses and the true saints of all ages … tell us that they have seen only suffering and felt only fellow-suffering. In other words, they have recognized the normal [P. 346] condition of all living things and seen the cruel, eternally contradictory nature of the will to live, which is common to all living things and which, in eternal self-mutilation, is blindly self-regarding; the appalling cruelty of this will, which even in sexual love wills only its own reproduction, first appeared here reflected in that particular cognitive organ which, in its normal state, recognized itself as having been created by the will and therefore as being subservient to it; and so, in its abnormal, sympathetic state, it developed to the point of seeking lasting and, finally, permanent freedom from its shameful servitude, a freedom which it ultimately achieved only by means of a complete denial of the will to live.
{FEUER} This act of denying the will is the true action of the saint: that it is
ultimately accomplished only in a total end to individual consciousness – for there
is no other consciousness except that which is personal and individual – was lost
sight of by the naïve saints of Christianity, confused, as they were, by Jewish
dogma, and they were able to deceive their confused imagination by seeing that
longed-for state as a perpetual continuation of a new state of life freed from nature,
without our judgment as to the moral significance of their renunciation being
impaired in the process, since in truth they were striving only to achieve the
destruction of their own individuality, i.e. their existence.” [636W-{6/7/55}Letter
to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 345-346]


[P. 351] {FEUER} “In disconsolate and dispassionate hours [P. 352] what I was most afraid of was Wodan’s great scene, and especially the revelation of his fate to Bruennhilde … . (…) This is the most important scene for the development of the whole of the great four-part drama and, as such, will presumably soon receive the necessary interest and attention.” [639W-{10/3/55} Letter to Franz Liszt: SLRW, p. 351-352]


[P. 528] {FEUER} “Burnouff’s Introduction a l’histoire du Bouddhisme was the book that stimulated me most; I even distilled from it the material for a dramatic poem, which has remained with me ever since, if only in a very rough outline, and might one day even be brought to fruition. I gave it the title Die Sieger [‘The Victors’]; it was based on a simple legend of a Jandala maiden, who is received into the elevated order of mendicants known as the Cakyamounis as a result of her painfully intense and purified love for Ananda, the chief disciple of the Buddha. Apart from the beauty and the profound significance of the simple tale, I was influenced to choose it as much by its peculiar aptness for the musical procedures that I have since developed. To the mind of the Buddha, the previous lives in former incarnations of every being appearing before him stand revealed as clearly as the present. The simple story owed its significance to the way that the past life of the suffering principal characters was entwined in the new phase of their lives [P. 529] as being still present time. I perceived at once how the musical remembrance of this dual life, keeping the past constantly present in the hearing, might be represented perfectly to the emotional receptivities, and this decided me to keep the prospect of working out this task before me as a labor of especial love.” [640W-{5/16/56?} ML, p. 528-529]


[P. 357] {FEUER} “ … how can an artist hope to find his own intuitions perfectly
reproduced in those of another person, since he himself stands before his own work
of art – if it really is a work of art – as though before some puzzle, which is just as
capable of misleading him as it can mislead the other person.” [641W-{8/23/56}
Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 357]


[P. 357] {anti-FEUER} {SCHOP} “Rarely, I believe, has anyone suffered so remarkable a sense of alienation from self and so great a contradiction between his intuitions and his conceptions as I have done, for I must confess that only now have I really understood my own works of art (i.e. grasped them conceptually and ex-plained them rationally to myself), and I have done so with the help of another person, who has furnished me with conceptions that are perfectly congruent with my own intuitions. The period during which I worked in obedience to the dictates of my inner intuitions began with the Flying Dutchman; Tannhaeuser and Lohengrin followed, and if there is any single poetic feature underlying these works, it is the high tragedy of renunciation, the well-motivated, ultimately inevitable and uniquely redeeming denial of the will. It is this profound feature that gives sanction to my poem and to my music, without which they would have no ability to stir us. Now, nothing is more striking in this context than the fact that, in all the conceptions that I held and which were devoted to speculating upon and reaching an understanding of life, I was working in direct opposition to my own underlying intuitions. While, as an artist, my intuitions were of such compelling certainty that all I created was influenced by them, as a philosopher, I was attempting to find a totally contrasting explanation of the world which, though forcibly upheld, was repeatedly – and much to my amazement – undermined by my instinctive and purely objective artistic intuitions. My most striking experience in this respect came, finally, through my Nibelung poem; it had taken shape at a time when, relying upon my conceptions, I had constructed a Hellenistically optimistic world for myself which I held to be entirely realizable if only people wished it to exist, while at the same time seeking somewhat ingeniously to get round the problem why they did not in fact wish it to exist. I recall now having singled out the character of my Siegfried with this particular aim in mind, intending to put forward here the idea of a life free from pain; more than that, I believed I could express this idea even more clearly by presenting the whole of the Nibelung myth, and by showing how a whole world of injustice arises from the first injustice, a world which is destroyed in order -- to teach us to recognize injustice, root it out and establish a just world in its place. Well, I scarcely noticed how, in working out this plan, nay, basically even in its very design, I was unconsciously following a quite different, and [P. 358] much more profound, intuition, and that, instead of a single phase in the world’s evolution, what I had glimpsed was the essence of the world itself in all its conceivable phases,, and that I had thereby recognized its nothingness, with the result, of course – since I remained faithful to my intuitions rather than to my conceptions --, what emerged was something totally different from what I had originally intended.” [642W-{8/23/56}Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 357-358]


[P. 358] {FEUER} “… I … recall once having sought forcibly to assert my [conceptual, as opposed to intuitive] meaning – the only time I ever did so – in the tendentious closing words which Bruennhilde addresses to those around her, a speech in which she turns their attention away from the reprehensibility of ownership to the love which alone brings happiness; and yet I had (unfortunately!) never really sorted out in my own mind what I meant by this ‘love’ which, in the course of the myth, we saw appearing as something utterly and completely devastating. What blinded me in the case of this one particular passage was the interference of my conceptual meaning. Strange to relate, this particular passage continued to torment me, and it required a complete revolution in my rational outlook, such as was finally brought about by Schopenhauer, to reveal to me the cause of my difficulty and provide me with a truly fitting key-stone for my poem, which consists in an honest recognition of the true and profound nature of things, without the need to be in any way tendentious. (…) I myself recognize all too well that such a conviction could never have been forced upon me if it had not already corresponded to my own deepest intuitions … .” [643W-{8/23/56}Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 358]


[P. 359] {FEUER} {SCHOP} “I am only an artist: -- that is my blessing and my curse; otherwise I should gladly become a saint … .” [644W-{8/23/56}Letter to August Roeckel: SLRW, p. 359]


[P. 361] “{FEUER} “During the next few days I shall finish the first scene [of
Siegfried]. It is strange, but only in the course of composing the music does the
essential meaning of my poem dawn upon me; secrets are continually being
revealed to me which had previously been hidden from me. In this way everything
becomes much more passionate and more urgent.” [646W {12/6/56}Letter to Franz
Liszt, SLRW, p. 361]


[P. 238] {FEUER} “No doubt you … noticed how chary I often was with words, and you surely held this for nothing but the hush of deep emotion? And such, at first, it really was; yet I must tell you, this hush of mine is now maintained with consciousness, through my having come to a more and more fixed conviction that the own-est essence of our thoughts [‘Anschauungen’; i.e. intuitive vision] is unconveyable in direct ratio as they gain in depth and compass and thus withdraw beyond the bounds of speech – of speech, which does not belong to our own real selves, but is given us second-hand to help our converse with an outer world that, at bottom, can only understand us clearly when we place our-selves entirely on the level of life’s vulgar needs. The more our thoughts depart from that level, the more laborious becomes the effort to express them: until at last the philosopher, at risk of being not understood at all, uses language merely in its inverse sense, or the artist takes refuge in the wondrous workshop of his art, quite useless for the life of everyday, to forge himself an expression of what even then – and in the best of cases – can be understood by none but those who already share with him his thought. Now Music is indisputably the fittest medium for the thought (Anschauung) that cannot be conveyed by Speech, and one well might call the inmost essence of all Beholding (Anschauung) Music.” [648W-{2/57} On Liszt’s Symphonic Poems: PW Vol. III, p. 238]