My Conclusions.

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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My Conclusions.

Postby WOLRAM » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:54 pm

Thank you to Paul Heisse for this masterpiece of analysis.
After starting more than a year ago, I have now finished reading the extensive essay on “the Ring” on Wagnerheim, which has been a long journey of discovery, re-discovery and reflection.
The work that has gone into the analysis on Wagnerheim is incredible, particularly the cross-references to Wagner’s influences (particularly Feuerbach), and the cross-references within the Ring via the Leitmotifs.
My only criticism of the overall work is that it is a little too long-winded (although Wagnerians should be used to that) and this makes it a challenge to read and digest. For this reason, I wonder how many people have read it to the end?
New insights have arisen, which would never have occurred to me, and I mostly agree with the logic and the interpretation behind the detailed discussion.
However, as with any detailed analysis it is still possible to draw a range of conclusions regarding the big picture of what the Ring is all about, which is acknowledged at the end of the essay.
I have many thoughts, perspectives and questions that I would like to share, and will do so below.
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby WOLRAM » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:04 pm

What draws people to Wagner is the power of the music, and the strong and mysterious feelings that are stirred, even if they are dangerous, uncomfortable feelings.
I doubt that anybody is drawn to Wagner through an interest in drama, philosophy, psychology, theology, but I’ve learned through Wagnerheim that Wagner’s work touches on all of those things.
I have often felt that Wagner was (at least potentially) the greatest of composers, but was his own worst enemy, as though cursed. I have come to the conclusion that Wagner knew this, either consciously or consciously, and that the conclusion of the Ring tries to make sense of it.
In the Wagnerheim essay, I particularly like the analysis and explanation of Alberich’s curse on the ring – the curse of consciousness. Although it is possible to view Alberich’s Ring curse as a curse of material wealth (the more obvious explanation).
I agree absolutely that the deeper meaning relates to the awareness of our own mortality and resulting fear that results from full consciousness. On another level, I wonder if the curse could also represent a curse of consciousness that is more specific to Wagner, the fact that Wagner was too aware of his own inner creative processes and the fact that he could not write inspirational music without the baggage of other associations, packaged in Music drama.
This has implications for the meaning of the Ring, because this implies that Music Drama is cursed with consciousness, but that other art such as ‘pure music’ might not be.
At the end of Siegfried (if we go along with the Wagnerheim analysis), the message seems to be that secular art (and Wagnerian music-drama in particular) is a substitute for religion, or an expression of the religious impulse without claiming the truth. This is logical, although it may seem highly egoistic of Wagner to cast himself as ‘the redeemer’. Then when it all goes horribly wrong in Gotterdamerung, are we being told that this is all a mistake? It seems odd that Wagner would spend a quarter of a century writing a set of music dramas to tell us that his music dramas cannot redeem us, and particularly if we understand them too well.
The idea that ‘inspired art’ can be a substitute for religion (i.e. redeem the religious impulse) may seem to be crushed with the death of Siegfried, but in fact perhaps deep down Wagner knew that Wagnerian music drama is too ‘conscious’ to fulfil this purpose (as it can be deciphered via the Leitmotifs and libretto), but that other inspired art (and perhaps other human endeavours) can achieve a kind of redemption if cleansed of such consciousness.
The inferno at the end of Gotterdamerung might represent a process of purification rather than destruction, as also represented by the return of the Ring to the Rhine-maidens. When Siegfried’s hand rises up to warn off taking the Ring after his death, this seems to indicate that all is not lost for Wotan and his proxies, particularly with the SWORD motif reminding us of Wotan’s grand plan. I agree with Paul's comments that this shows that objective thought (science) can never understand everything, but it can also show the Artist-hero still has secrets that cannot be un-ravelled because there is much that remains a mysterious unconscious process, and music in particular can have a powerful and mysterious effect on the human mind, which cannot be explained. Perhaps Wagner is demonstrating that inspired art, and music drama in particular is just one example of the ways in which human beings make life meaningful, and was his particular way of making life meaningful. His problem was that he could not fool himself, however much he wanted to.
I personally believe that the Ring is more about what goes on inside the human mind than what goes on in society or the universe (even in Gotterdamerung), and more specifically it might be about what went on in his own mind, as he sought to give life meaning.
It is clear that there is no Victory for Alberich, Hagen (and ‘objective truth’) as they never regain the Ring, and perhaps that tells us that as human beings we can never view life in a cold objective way as to do so is self-defeating. We will always find a way to give life meaning, whatever self-deception might be involved. Wagner’s particular approach to self-deception was though music-drama, but could Wagner (even with his arrogance) really have believed that this particular art-form was central to the future of humanity. Surely Wagner realised that even if music-drama was the ‘art work of the future’, it would not be so for very long, as what is in the future is soon to be in the past.
Following the destruction of Valhalla, it is not clear what happens, but something seems to rise up from the ashes as represented by Leitmotif #178 (based on #93). My belief is that Wagner knew that Wagnerian music drama could not itself be redemptive once it’s inner processes are exposed (particularly to himself), but perhaps unconscious Art (and music in particular) could provide the true redemption once cleansed of the baggage that goes with it in music-drama, as music and the effect it has upon us can never be fully understood.
I am sure that Leitmotif #178 (and #93) is key to understanding the conclusion of the Ring. I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I have an idea that works for me. I believe this theme is linked to three other leitmotifs and is strongly linked to both Sieglinde and Brunhilde as representing music and unconscious inspiration respectively. This is reinforced by the fact that the theme (#93) is first sung by Sieglinde in praise of Brunhilde.
Sieglinde (music) lived on after Siegmund (drama), and this theme (unconsciously inspired music) lives on after Siegried (music plus drama, music drama, Wagner).
Therefore, the victory of theme #178 is victory for unconsciously inspired music (freed from baggage), as its source and effect can never be fully understood.
In the end, the only thing that redeems Wagner is his music.
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:57 pm

Dear Wolram:

With the exception of Roger Scruton's intro to my online "Ring" study, you are the first to offer a detailed critical response. I am extremely pleased that you have stuck with my book to the end, and I couldn't agree with you more that it's terribly long-winded. Had it not been for the seemingly non-stop hiatus due to my having to take over mom's care for 2.5 years or so, I would have completed a much briefer, more accessible and publishable version by now. But that's in the offing, because I have just officially moved to my new digs in southeast Florida, where I will at last return to my Wagner project. There's much to say in response to your review, but the pod containing all of my worldly possessions just arrived at my new home on the Indian River Lagoon, so I'll need a few days to move it all inside. Thanks again for your wonderful commentary.

Yours from Wagnerheim,

Paul
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby WOLRAM » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:58 pm

Thanks for your response Paul, and I look forward to knowing your thoughts about my comments.
Although my thoughts on the conclusion of the Ring are mostly intuitive, I've discovered a couple of things that seem to support my idea of Music itself being the basis of the " redemption theme" at the end of Gotterdamerung.

Firstly, this quote:-
"music can never, in any union into which it might enter, cease to be the highest, most redemptive art” (Wagner 1888: vol. 5, 191)
(As Wagner died in 1883 I'm puzzled by the date, but I assume this does come from Wagner).

Secondly, I found a summary of "Schopenhauer's Metaphysics of Music" at http://users.belgacom.net/wagnerlibrary ... y48218.htm - this seems to support a similar view.

Although the messages that can be read into Wagner's work are very confusing and contradictory, the key two messages that seem to emerge are that music is the highest art, and compassion is the highest morality (which I think is shown in The Walkurie and in Parsifal). It seems to me that for those of us for whom logic does not allow us to believe in Religion and who feel a sense of loss as a result, the two elements of the religious impulse that are important are a sense of morality, and a feeling that there is something transcendent outside of ourselves. Perhaps music can deal with the latter, and therefore provide a kind of redemption.
I know that you question whether the D flat major them at the end (sometimes known as 'redemption through love') it is really a redemptive theme, but that's certainly the way it feels.
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:17 pm

Dear Wolram:

Actually, I think you are probably correct that if this final theme can be said to represent anything, it is the redemptive feeling which art provides to us, especially the art of music. But of course there is a whiff of melancholy in it, because the theme also seems to say, in a way, look what happened to this hope! What I mean by this is that there's no denying that Siegfried and Bruennhilde both betrayed the love they had for each other, and of course there's no real redemption for the gods in the end, a fact confirmed among other things by Wotan's resignation and melancholy. Wagner seems to be saying that in the end art is all we have, which is the same as saying illusion is all we have, except that we can't be deluded that we feel what we feel, though we can be deluded that what we think is correct, when it is not. Wagner said it once this way: the death of the hero is the life of the work of art. But Siegfried's death is more than mere mortality; it is the death of meaning itself.

I've been meaning to get back to you with more detail about your critique, and I may try now: the reason for my delay is that I've been overwhelmed with a thousand problems relating to closing my mom's estate and adjusting to the new situation in which I'm living, which requires a great deal of work before I'll be free to return to regular research on my Wagner project. I'm having to help an old friend, with whom I'm living, close up their estate as well, and it's quite involved.

Anyway, I'll close out this message and make some further remarks in a fresh one.
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:39 pm

You note that people are drawn to Wagner by the music, but not by the drama or philosophy. I can only speak for myself when I say that it was Wagner's synthesis of music-drama-poetry-philosophy (the big questions the "Ring" and his other greatest works address) which drew me to him. Of course, his music is his primary calling-card: it is only after that lured me in that I began to delve more deeply into the drama and philosophical questions which seem to lie behind the musical inspiration (not to say that music can't be inspired purely by its own musical impulse! But Wagner's case is somewhat unique in this instance). In any case, for me there is a direct relationship between his philosophic seeking, his dramatic urgency, and his music.

Your suggestion that Wagner portrayed in Alberich's curse not only the curse of consciousness in general, but Wagner's own personal curse of consciousness, in that he was too conscious of the mainsprings of his artistic inspiration, is very astute. In fact I think Wagner captured both the general curse of consciousness in the plot of the "Ring," and his own idiosyncratic situation (for Siegfried as an artist-hero, and his tragic end, reflect Wagner's own view of his place in history, I believe), in the "Ring."

"At the end of Siegfried (if we go along with the Wagnerheim analysis), the message seems to be that secular art (and Wagnerian music-drama in particular) is a substitute for religion, or an expression of the religious impulse without claiming the truth. This is logical, although it may seem highly egoistic of Wagner to cast himself as ‘the redeemer’. Then when it all goes horribly wrong in Gotterdamerung, are we being told that this is all a mistake? It seems odd that Wagner would spend a quarter of a century writing a set of music dramas to tell us that his music dramas cannot redeem us, and particularly if we understand them too well."

I quote you here so I can respond more efficiently. If one considers the Feuerbachian atheistic view that the great religious prophets and seers who claimed to have received God's revelations, or even to be God, were merely mortals of astounding personal powers and conviction, yet self-deluded, then it isn't really arrogant for Wagner, having come to see that all prior religious figures of this type were actually artists such as himself (the difference being that they believed in their supernatural inspiration, while Wagner did not), to claim for himself the status of a redeemer. If secular art has really fallen heir to declining religious faith, in order to restore what has been lost, then Wagner has as much a claim as anyone. I believe, by the way, that this is one of the messages of "Parsifal," that Parsifal comes to see himself as, in effect, the reincarnation of all prior religious prophets and seers (for reasons I'll explain elsewhere).

For the same reason it's not a mistake for Wagner both to see himself as an heir to the original redeemers of religious faith, and also as a failure, since in his "Ring" plot once the redeemer becomes too conscious of who he really is (i.e., too conscious of the true source of his formerly unconscious religious and artistic inspiration), he can no longer offer himself or mankind redemption. This is why, in my view, the salves offered by the Grail Knights no longer work to heal Amfortas's (mankind's) wound. His unhealing wound stems from man's ineradicable need to posit transcendent meaning (God, spirit, redemption from the world, immortal soul, altruistic motives, restoration of lost innocence, etc.) in the face of mankind's historical accumulation of knowledge of nature and self, knowledge which will inevitable expose his former religious faith as self-delusion. This is all explained in my work on "Parsifal," which is really a sort of epilogue for the "Ring," as others besides myself have suggested (but for different reasons). All this seeming contradiction actually follows logically from the premises of my interpretation of the "Ring," especially in light of its place in Wagner's entire oeuvre.

I'll submit this now and finish my remarks in a separate email (for some reason if I try to complete a very long message before posting I always seem to accidentally hit some key or other which blitzes everything I've written).
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:05 pm

"The idea that ‘inspired art’ can be a substitute for religion (i.e. redeem the religious impulse) may seem to be crushed with the death of Siegfried, but in fact perhaps deep down Wagner knew that Wagnerian music drama is too ‘conscious’ to fulfil this purpose (as it can be deciphered via the Leitmotifs and libretto), but that other inspired art (and perhaps other human endeavours) can achieve a kind of redemption if cleansed of such consciousness.
The inferno at the end of Gotterdamerung might represent a process of purification rather than destruction, as also represented by the return of the Ring to the Rhine-maidens. When Siegfried’s hand rises up to warn off taking the Ring after his death, this seems to indicate that all is not lost for Wotan and his proxies, particularly with the SWORD motif reminding us of Wotan’s grand plan. I agree with Paul's comments that this shows that objective thought (science) can never understand everything, but it can also show the Artist-hero still has secrets that cannot be un-ravelled because there is much that remains a mysterious unconscious process, and music in particular can have a powerful and mysterious effect on the human mind, which cannot be explained. Perhaps Wagner is demonstrating that inspired art, and music drama in particular is just one example of the ways in which human beings make life meaningful, and was his particular way of making life meaningful. His problem was that he could not fool himself, however much he wanted to.
I personally believe that the Ring is more about what goes on inside the human mind than what goes on in society or the universe (even in Gotterdamerung), and more specifically it might be about what went on in his own mind, as he sought to give life meaning."

I quote you again so I can respond more easily to your points. Again your general point is astute. Wagner at the end of the "Ring" in a sense is retreating from the implications of the very work which is now reaching completion. He is retreating (with the dissolution of the Ring of consciousness in the preconscious Rhine River) from hyper-consciousness back to a preconscious state, which for him is represented also by music and its redemptive quality. The strange thing, though, is that such sophisticated music could only come to being as a response to hyper-consciousness. As Wagner said, we weren't aware of our innocence until we lost it. Wagner described all of human history as, in effect, a perhaps futile quest to restore the innocence we lost by virtue of being human. To say the truth, I have long suspected that all the seemingly bizarre efforts to create original art at all costs, since the beginning of the 20th century, seem to express a desperate quest to retreat from too-great-consciousness and logic at all costs. The idea seems to have been to insure that art couldn't be reduced to any pat logic, to escape scientific reduction. Thus artists even bring the absurd into play for its own sake, or chance, etc. It was all an effort to save "meaning" in its human sense. I first noted this tendency in Dostoevsky's novels, but I'm sure it can be found in various genres of 19th century art.

Yes, this business of Siegfried's dead hand rising to repel Hagen's claim on the Ring (a claim which I have proclaimed legitimate, since the Ring represents, I believe, consciousness, and Hagen is hyper conscious, too conscious) has something very mysterious about it. It is certainly one of the few awkward moments in the "Ring" (Wagner once considered having Titural, now dead, rise up from his coffin to bless everyone at the end of "Parsifal," but wisely decided against it), but it is highly marked and quite significant, and of course we hear the Sword Motif for, I think, the last time, which represents, as you say, Wotan's plan. My best take on it is that the Ring of consciousness, and its curse, its fate, represents on the long view the entire evolution of consciousness, which includes all its phases, such as religious faith followed by the war between art/religion and science. A further step in the evolution of consciousness could, as you suggest, be a recognition of its (or our) limits, that ultimately we don't swallow the universe up, but it swallows us. Surely the longing found in religion and art for the renunciation of the world as we find it finds its physical analogue in a complete destruction of all things, which would be, if you will, the universe's last laugh in response to all human pretensions in religion, science, art, politics, etc. But of course here we approach the biggest questions and mysteries, such as the question why there is anything instead of nothing, and I suspect that final rise of the Ring on Siegfried's finger, with its accompanying Sword Motif, is a sort of warning of the type which God allegedly gave to Moses, not to look upon his face. Hagen is being warned, in effect, that we humans are products of something we don't (and perhaps can't) know, rather than gods who create the world.

However, one of the biggest questions I'll spend the rest of my life mulling over is just how all this, which culminates with the dissolution of the Ring in the Rhine, can be construed as redemptive.

I'll post some final thoughts later. I'm having to use someone else's computer, in their bedroom, until I can buy a new MAC Air or whatever. I have my 2004 MAC but it's growing ever more difficult to use (incompatible with all kinds of software on the web), so I'll have to replace it. But I have to wait till mom's estate clears before I can decide what I can afford to spend.

Your appreciative friend in Wagnerheim,

Paul
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby WOLRAM » Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:49 pm

Thanks again for your latest response to my observations. At one point I regretted making some of the points which might have seemed a bit critical, but now I'm glad I did so, because your response helps to clarify some issues which I found rather confusing.
I really appreciate being able to enter into a dialogue with the author of what I consider a very significant piece of research and analysis, on a subject which has fascinated (though often perplexed) me since I was a teenager.
In a way I think you are playing the role of Hagen in bringing out much that is behind Wagner's work, and which has perhaps never been understood until now. This is not a bad thing, because many have thought they understood when they did not and Wagner's work has been grossly mis-interpreted in a variety of ways, including by political extremists of both right and left. What your work shows is that Wagner's thoughts (however shocking they may have been on certain issues) were complex and deep, with some profound insights into the nature of us all.
My comments bout people being drawn to Wagner because of the music, was not meant to say the drama etc has no value, but I think if Wagner had not written such unique music then not many of us would care about the rest.
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 4:59 pm

I'll attempt here to complete my response to your critique. I'll quote from your critique below, in quotes, and my responses will be without quotes.

"It is clear that there is no Victory for Alberich, Hagen (and ‘objective truth’) as they never regain the Ring, and perhaps that tells us that as human beings we can never view life in a cold objective way as to do so is self-defeating. We will always find a way to give life meaning, whatever self-deception might be involved. Wagner’s particular approach to self-deception was though music-drama, but could Wagner (even with his arrogance) really have believed that this particular art-form was central to the future of humanity. Surely Wagner realised that even if music-drama was the ‘art work of the future’, it would not be so for very long, as what is in the future is soon to be in the past."

I'm frankly not surprised that Wagner thought his art-form was perhaps central to the future of humanity, because he was hyper-conscious of being part of the historical transition Feuerbach described, in which what humans once regarded as divine in origin was gradually being understood as natural, and science was replacing religion as an explanation for things. Wagner like many others grasped that this transition from subjective to objective understanding was perhaps man's greatest test, a test of whether or not he could relinquish his preferred view of the world in favor of a view imposed on him by cold hard facts. He evidently saw his art as a quest to salvage humanity, i.e., all that man considered worthy of salvation in the face of man's inevitable accumulation of disturbing self-knowledge.

"Following the destruction of Valhalla, it is not clear what happens, but something seems to rise up from the ashes as represented by Leitmotif #178 (based on #93). My belief is that Wagner knew that Wagnerian music drama could not itself be redemptive once it’s inner processes are exposed (particularly to himself), but perhaps unconscious Art (and music in particular) could provide the true redemption once cleansed of the baggage that goes with it in music-drama, as music and the effect it has upon us can never be fully understood."

I feel your remarks here are very insightful, not least because Wagner ultimately turned away from music drama in the end, and before his death was planning to compose purely musical works. Clearly he was retreating from something to which he had been committed all his prior artistic life. I suspect our answer to this question, if there is one, is actually in "Parsifal," for which I've constructed a very detailed interpretation which, however, I haven't written in as finished a form as my "Ring" study. In the coming years I hope to complete it. But it will have much to do, I think, with Wagner's notion (borrowed partly from Feuerbach) that religious faith in a transcendent realm has been a historical sin against Mother Nature (objective truth, if you will), and that in "Parsifal" Mother Nature regains her innocence, once mankind no longer posits spiritual transcendence. That at least is part of what I take to be the meaning of "Parsifal," for many reasons. Look at the Good Friday spell in particular.


"I am sure that Leitmotif #178 (and #93) is key to understanding the conclusion of the Ring. I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I have an idea that works for me. I believe this theme is linked to three other leitmotifs and is strongly linked to both Sieglinde and Brunhilde as representing music and unconscious inspiration respectively. This is reinforced by the fact that the theme (#93) is first sung by Sieglinde in praise of Brunhilde.
Sieglinde (music) lived on after Siegmund (drama), and this theme (unconsciously inspired music) lives on after Siegried (music plus drama, music drama, Wagner).
Therefore, the victory of theme #178 is victory for unconsciously inspired music (freed from baggage), as its source and effect can never be fully understood.
In the end, the only thing that redeems Wagner is his music."

It is certainly the case that Wagner's "Ring" plot revolves around ever more desperate attempts to free ourselves from the baggage in conceptual thought which compromises and contradicts our longing for transcendent meaning and value. I've called this "jettisoning." Feuerbach himself described this when he noted that the concept of God, under assault by mankind's increasing knowledge and ever more sophisticated gift of analysis, would eventually have to retreat to feeling, to the heart, which Feuerbach identified with music (without, however, fully working out the logical consequences, as Wagner did in the "Ring"). Wagner once stated that when God had to leave us, he left behind him, in remembrance, music, obviously paraphrasing Feuerbach. This of course we see dramatized in the "Ring" in Wotan's withdrawal from the world in favor of his daughter Bruennhilde (unconsciously inspired music) and her future husband the music-dramatist-hero Siegfried, who will inseminate Bruennhilde (music) with Wotan's drama (the contents of Wotan's confession, his secret hoard of knowledge, to her). To fully grasp this (because it's obvious Wotan confessed this to Bruennhilde, not Siegfried) we must remember that Siegfried and Bruennhilde, taken together, represent one person, the music-dramatist who is unconsciously inspired by forbidden knowledge. This knowledge is symbolized by the Ring and the hoard it produces, which are in turn identified with Wotan's knowledge which he learned from Mother Nature (Erda), confessed to Bruennhilde, is imparted by Bruennhilde to Siegfried during loving intercourse (unconscious artistic inspiration), and which inseminates Bruennhilde again when Siegfried gives Bruennhilde Alberich's Ring (akin to Wotan confessing his unbearable knowledge to her). The mechanics seem confusing until we recall that Siegfried/Bruennhilde are Wotan's heir, and Siegfried in a sense Wotan's reincarnation (as religious belief lives again in a new form in inspired secular art).

Well, that's a lot to chew on. My fingers are wiped out so I'll end here. I can't thank you enough for your very close reading, and great understanding, of what's at stake.

Your friend from Wagnerheim,

Paul
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby WOLRAM » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:28 am

Just when you think you've answered all my points (which I greatly appreciate), I have had some more thoughts, particularly relating to your comments about the difficulty in seeing how the conclusion of the Ring can be redemptive.
There are two things that you’ve mentioned in your analysis, which I think might be are clues. Firstly, I remember that you said you believe we should appreciate Wagner’s work in a state of ‘innocent wonder’ (or something similar).
Secondly, you talk about the ‘play within a play’ in Gotterdamerung Act 3.
It occurs to me that we can appreciate ‘the Ring’ (and other works of art) in various states of consciousness that are similar to the states of consciousness that have prevailed at various phases of human history, as depicted in ‘the Ring’ itself. In the ‘play within a play’ Siegried explains how he came to understand bird-song, and as his audience starts to understand, perhaps we (Wagner’s audience) start to understand ‘the Ring’ (or at least think that we understand).
Siegried’s death perhaps shows us that the Artist-hero loses some of his power (or Art loses it’s power) if we understand too much. In a sense we are gaining ‘forbidden knowledge’ as we start to analyse and understand.
As Brunhilde is the holder of forbidden knowledge on behalf of Wotan (historical collective man’s religious impulse), Brunhilde’s voluntary immolation perhaps shows us that we must lose the ‘forbidden knowledge’ in order to appreciate the beauty of life (and also this work of art) in a state of ‘innocent wonder’.
Brunhilde’s immolation, the return of the ring to the Rhine-maidens, hyper-concious Hagen being sub-merged in the Rhine (nature) can perhaps all represent a return to a state of ‘innocent wonder’, which is represented at the start of Reingold and is also the state in which we first appreciate ‘the Ring’.
If this state of ‘innocent wonder’ can be attained without Religious belief (i.e. after the burning of Valhalla) then perhaps that is at least part of redemption that is needed by those of us who do not have religious belief (because our logic will not allow it), but who feel a sense of loss as a result because we need not just a sense of morality but a sense of wonder.
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