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The Rhinegold: Page 140
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And Feuerbach provides a rational, scientific basis for the dependence of the allegedly spiritual upon the physical in the following remark:

“I cannot derive my body from my mind – for I have to eat … before I can think; as the animals demonstrate, I can eat without thinking, but I cannot think without eating … .” [212F-LER: p. 87]

And here, Wagner paraphrases Feuerbach:

The quintessence of this constant motion, thus of Life, at last in ‘Wuotan’ [Wotan] (Zeus) found expression as the chiefest God, the Father and Pervader of the All. Though his nature marked him as the highest god, and as such he needs must take the place of father to the other deities, yet was he nowise an historically older god, but sprang into existence from man’s later, higher consciousness of self; consequently he is more abstract than the older Nature-god, whilst the latter is more corporeal and, so to phrase it, more personally inborn in man.” [368W-{6-8/48} The Wibelungen – Revised summer of 1849: PW Vol. VII, p. 275]

If we can construe what Wagner describes as the “Nature-god,” who is more inborn in man, as Alberich, then Wagner’s later god, though higher and more abstract than the nature god, is Wotan: Wotan is higher and more abstract than Alberich because he represents what the human mind imagines to be a transcendent, supernatural being, created by the imagination as an alternative to, even the antithesis of, the real world and actual beings.

Curiously, Wagner’s meditation on the origin of the Holy Grail legend, so important to his two great works Lohengrin (whose creation just preceded that of the Ring), and Parsifal, which was created immediately after Wagner finished the Ring, provides striking, dramatic evidence for our thesis. For Wagner said that through a process of sublimation the Nibelung Hoard eventually lost its bond with the material world and was transformed into the Grail, i.e., into something spiritual:

[P. 293] “… the legend of the Holy Grail, significantly enough, makes its entry on the world at the very time when the Kaiserhood attained its more ideal direction, and the Nibelung’s Hoard accordingly was losing more and more in material worth, to yield to a higher spiritual content. The spiritual ascension of the Hoard into the Grail was accomplished in the German conscience … . [P. 294] (…)

The quest of the Grail henceforth replaces the struggle for the Nibelungen-Hoard … .” [373W-{6-8/48} The Wibelungen – Revised summer of 1849: PW Vol. VII, p. 293-294]

But note, the Nibelung Hoard (for our purposes, Alberich, with his Ring) came first, and only later did the Holy Grail (the symbol for transcendent value, which we can identify with the gods’ heavenly abode Valhalla) evolve from it. This corresponds precisely with the evolution of the Ring Motif #19 (here a symbol for the Nibelung Hoard which was accumulated under the Ring’s influence) into the Valhalla Motif #20a.

Wagner evidently based his distinction of Alberich from Wotan (Light-Alberich) as much on Feuerbach’s analysis of the origins of the concept of Godhead as he did on Norse and/or Teutonic mythology. Here we find Feuerbach explaining that, in order to describe how a perfect god could produce an imperfect creation called nature, to be consistent the inventors of god had to posit in

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