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The Valkyrie: Page 317
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argument that Alberich’s and Wotan’s endeavors are the product of the inevitable evolution of the conscious mind, the “Ring:”

“… will and consciousness (taken in their commonly used meanings) produce only mechanical results. But much more than will and analytical consciousness are needed for the production of living reality, or even for the works of genuine art and science; Spirit and genius are needed for them. (…) The artistic genius does not produce out of understanding, will, and consciousness, but out of the fullness of his soul, in which he is one with his productions … . Thus the works of genuine art are not mere works; they possess their grounds in themselves; they are therefore spiritual, inspired works. Nature is ground and principle of itself, … it exists out of necessity … .” [12F-TDI: p. 86]

The resolution of this apparent contradiction is that though the unconscious natural necessity of the evolution of species gave birth to conscious human thought, and therefore produced man’s quest to exploit the power of his conscious mind to rule himself and his world, great science and art are products of genius which, as Wagner himself noted, partakes of both unconscious inspiration and conscious reflection:

“Do not underestimate the power of reflection; the unconsciously created work of art belongs to periods remote from our own: the work of art of the most advanced period of culture can be produced only by a process of conscious creation. (…) Only the most fertile human nature [obviously, Wagner himself, both unconscious composer and conscious author, as he might put it, of his music-dramas] can effect this wondrous combination between the power of the reflective intellect, on the one hand, & the fecundity of the more direct creative power on the other.” [363W-{1/1/47} Letter to Eduard Hanslick: SLRW, p. 134]

Wagner has described above what distinguishes Wotan’s special use of the power of mind, i.e., Alberich’s Ring, from Alberich’s use of it, for Alberich seeks ever greater consciousness and the real power this engenders, while Wotan’s artificial desire to win the power of Alberich’s Ring, the conscious mind, without sacrificing love (instinctive, natural necessity), represents the longing of the conscious mind of religious and artistic men to retreat from consciousness back into unconsciousness. Ironically, this longing is produced by that very consciousness (Alberich’s Ring) from which it seeks redemption. And it is for this very reason that Nothung, the sword Wotan manufactured for his Waelsung heroes, the agents of his hoped-for redemption from Alberich’s curse of consciousness, is embodied musically by Motif #57, whose second segment, #50b, replicates the Original Nature Arpeggio which represents preconscious existence, unconscious natural necessity.

Wagner subtly hints at the natural necessity which underlies both Alberich’s renunciation of love, and Siegmund’s need of love and heroic embrace of it, not only by associating the same motif, #18, with both Alberich and Siegmund at their moments of decision, but also through a verbal motif which they both repeat, namely, “hoechster Noth.” In R.4, Alberich blessed his Ring with “hoechster Noth” while laying his curse on it so that Wotan, having taken possession of it from Alberich, could not draw bliss from it without paying the Ring’s price, renunciation of love.

Mime’s practical mind, inherently unable to draw upon authentic inspiration, incapable therefore of forging the Ring of power, or inventing the Tarnhelm which he manufactured according

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