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The Rhinegold: Page 131
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Flosshilde: Stop, you thief!

 

Wellgunde: Look to the gold!

 

Woglinde and Wellgunde: (#3?:) Help! Help! (…)

 

[The waters subside with the Rhinedaughters as Alberich’s mocking laughter is heard. black billowing water seems to sink.]

 

(#18: Gradually the waves turn into clouds, which resolve into a fine mist as an increasingly bright light emerges behind them. [[ #19 definitive: ]]>[[ #20a: ]] When the mist has completely disappeared from the top of the stage in the form of delicate little clouds, an open space on a mountain summit becomes visible in the dawning light. At one side, on a flowery bank, lies Wotan with Fricka at his side. Both are asleep)

Figuratively speaking, Alberich’s quest to obtain worldly power through objective knowledge of the earth (Erda) is a sort of vengeance of the conscious mind against Mother Nature herself, which gave birth to human consciousness, to obtain compensation from nature for the angst and existential “Noth” which man inherits as the natural price of consciousness. This vengeance, expressing man’s resistance to accepting nature as she is, will actually culminate in the birth of religious belief, the positing of a divine realm (Valhalla) as the human imagination’s alternative to the real world. Though religious faith promises a magical, or supernatural assuagement of man’s ills, the fact that its promises are illusory implies that the satisfaction it offers man is psychological rather than actual. It satisfies us psychologically where we can’t actually obtain satisfaction at all. While scientific thought strives to renounce natural feeling for the sake of the unbiased purity of thinking, which alone can see the real world with sufficient clarity to draw knowledge from it, and obtain the concrete, demonstrable power which comes from knowledge, religious belief renounces objective knowledge for the sake of a mode of thought guided by feeling, or if you will, by love. Religion on this view posits a transcendent realm of being as a consoling alternative to the harsh truths of Mother Earth, and in this sense sins against Mother Nature and her truth. Thus Alberich’s forging of the Ring gives birth to the war between science (objective man) and religion (subjective man). The light of the Rhinegold which Alberich puts out will be artificially re-lit in the splendors of Valhalla.

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