My Conclusions.

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:36 pm

Dear Wolram:

Strange to say, for some reason I thought I'd responded to your remarks above, and now realize I never did. I've been busier than hell trying to fix up the place I'm living in in order to get back into the proper state of mind/heart to return to my lifelong Wagner research project.

But in answer to your point above, I think you're right to suggest that Wagner is perhaps suggesting that the best we can have is a redemption short of full consciousness and knowledge. I seem to recall Nietzsche once suggested (Nietzsche of course probably knowing far more about what Wagner was about than even Nietzsche ever admitted to) that the truth may not be consistent with happiness (but of course he felt it was consistent with a special kind of existential heroism, if I read him right). My problem (and I suspect it was Wagner's problem too, if only subliminally) is that, having already arrived at a state of perhaps too-high consciousness, I suspect there are those who can never go back, completely.

I can best illustrate my problem with an example of what I might call intellectual pride or honor. Suppose we have been deeply romantically in love with someone for many years, with a deep investment of feeling, thought, experience, and then could learn through some miraculous means that if a certain individual came into our lover's life, they'd drop us like a hot potato for their newfound lover. It seems to me there are two classes of people distinguished according to how they would handle this knowledge. One type consists of those who would say to themselves: well then, all I have to do is insure my lover never meets this potential competitor, in order to assure my own happiness. The other type would just as soon introduce the two and get it over with, rather than live a lie. I'm pretty sure I belong to the second category.

However, in spite of what I just said I also suspect that the problem re Wagner's concept of redemption as relating to various levels of consciousness is more complex and ambiguous and nuanced than the illustration I just provided. I suppose I'm suggesting, per what you contributed above, that in the final analysis I too am capable of doing what I call "jumping into the Rhine," i.e., retreating back into a womblike blissful state of comparative preconsciousness. I know we do this in our response to music which, as several prior writers have well said, allows us to experience tragedy and ecstasy in a sort of play-state, without sustaining the damage we would suffer in a real state of being. I'm sure Robert Donington said something like this.

In any case, as part of my continuing Wagner research project I have a great deal more to read in a variety of fields, including some as-yet-untapped classics of science and philosophy and literature in the Western and Eastern worlds, and anthropological studies, so I can re-approach my entire Wagner project some years from now benefitting from a greater wealth of experience. We'll see how much my current views hold up.

Thanks again for these thoughts. I'll be taking them with me into my new realms of exploration. And of course, in a month or two, when I obtain my new laptop, I hope to re-engage here at the forum.

Your friend in Wagnerheim,

Paul
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Re: My Conclusions.

Postby alberich00 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:06 am

Dear Wolram:

I was just rereading tonight some old posts, prompted by my curiosity to see how many visitors to the discussion forum have read various posts. I was curious because at 12:15 am on 10/14/2015, more visitors were looking at the discussion forum at one time than ever before, exactly 48. What, I wonder, could have prompted that? Perhaps some college class was looking over it collectively, or perhaps there is some seminar somewhere where a speaker brought up the topic. Who knows!

Anyway, looking over our discussion from last year I can't help sharing a feeling which has been coming over me more and more during the past years. Many folks tend to wish to describe happiness as the consequence of some abstraction or other, such as the gaining of wisdom, reconciliation to one's limits, religious ecstasy, the satisfaction of some major ambition in business, politics, science, the arts, social life, status, marriage, etc. And it goes without saying that many people, the best, find their highest satisfaction in helping others, an ambition in which I can concur. But more and more I'm finding my special kind of spiritual satisfaction in the subtlest and quietest details of life, such as the way sunlight shines through trees waving in the wind, or the smell of hotdogs on a grill on a perfect summer day, or the nostalgic and dream-like thoughts and feelings which come over me like waves when I'm driving through the countryside and see some broken down barn or country house mostly gutted but still partly standing. I haven't talked about this much in this discussion forum, but, aside from the peculiar feelings which come over me in the most privileged moments in response to Wagner's art (and that of a very few great writers, painters, composers, etc.), by far my deepest, most profound, and most mysterious aesthetic/spiritual experiences I have in nighttime dreams, many of which (certainly not all) I have remembered since early childhood, more vividly than much of daily waking experience, which often seems diluted and impoverished by comparison. My philosophy to explain these strange feelings which seem to have little or nothing to do with the concerns of regular, waking life, is: THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE GOING ON. What I mean is that I feel sometimes that what all the self-proclaimed or publicly acclaimed pundits tell us about the meaning of life, may be nonsense, and that perhaps the essence of meaning is found when we lose ourselves in the minutiae of existence, without reflection. I suspect this is somewhat akin to what you said in your last remarks above. Interestingly, a composer who for me occasionally captures this is Frederick Delius, whose music at its most alluring makes me think that if my dreams had been scored for orchestra, this is what they would sound like. It is extraordinary to me how suggestive his music can be. It is no wonder that his two heroes were Nietzsche and Wagner. Anyway, I'm suggesting that for me, this may be the ultimate redemption.

Your friend from Wagnerheim,

Paul alias Alberich00
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