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The Valkyrie: Page 344
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murder is very frequently the consequence. The great, exceptional man finds himself each day, in a certain measure, in the situation where the ordinary man forthwith despairs of life.” [707W-{64-2/65} On State and Religion: PW Vol. IV, p. 32]

This explains why Wotan, collective-historical man (Feuerbach’s God), whom brief possession of Alberich’s Ring of consciousness has endowed temporarily with this shocking vision of the full, terrible truth of existence, represses this unbearable knowledge, the remembrance of his corrupt history and craven identity, into Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind, the source of man’s involuntary dreaming (which according to Feuerbach is the key to the religious mysteries) and its language, music. For Wotan has acknowledged that, in speaking to his daughter Bruennhilde, he is speaking only to himself, i.e., the other part of himself, the womb of his wishes, the self of “feeling,” which is distinguished from his conscious, thinking self:

[P. 140] It is the same ego, the same being in dreaming as in waking; [P. 141] the only distinction is that in waking, the ego acts on itself; whereas in dreaming it is acted on by itself as by another being. (…) Feeling is a dream with the eyes open; religion the dream of waking consciousness: dreaming is the key to the mysteries of religion.” [102F-EOC: p. 140-141]

The idea that Bruennhilde, Wotan’s daughter, is his unconscious mind, was first developed by Wagner in Lohengrin (though elements of this concept are already found in Senta and Venus, in The Flying Dutchman, and Tannhaeuser, respectively), and expounded in his discussion of the meaning of Lohengrin in A Communication To My Friends. [See my chapter on Lohengrin for a detailed discussion.] Elsa’s request that Lohengrin share with her the secret of his true identity and origin, a secret which, if divulged, she believes would bring him great suffering (“Noth”), and her offer to help Lohengrin keep this secret to protect him from this “Noth,” is the basis for Bruennhilde’s request that Wotan share with her the secret of his divine “Noth,” or anguish, which he dare not speak aloud. Lohengrin refuses Elsa’s request, but Wotan here acquiesces in Bruennhilde’s request that he tell her what gnaws at his heart. Wotan in his confession shares with his daughter Bruennhilde the unspoken secret of his divine “Noth”:

[P. 346] “In ‘Elsa’ I saw, from the commencement, my desired antithesis to Lohengrin, … the other half of his being, -- the antithesis which is included in his general nature and forms the necessarily longed-for complement of his specific man-hood. Elsa is the unconscious, the undeliberate (Unwillkuerliche), into which Lohengrin’s conscious, deliberate (willkuerliche) being yearns to be redeemed … [as Wotan yearns to confess the unspoken secret which troubles him to Bruennhilde]. Through the capability of this ‘unconscious consciousness,’ such as I myself now felt [P. 347] alike with Lohengrin, the nature of Woman also … came to ever clearer understanding in my inner mind. (…) I grew to find her so justified in the final outburst of her jealousy [i.e., Elsa’s insistence that Lohengrin share with her, his wife and lover, the secret of his true identity and origin, so that she could help him keep the secret which she supposes might, if exposed, bring him great suffering – i.e., “Noth”], that from this very outburst I learnt first to thoroughly understand the purely-human element of love … . … this woman, … who, by the very burst of her jealousy, wakes first from out the thrill of worship [religious belief] into the full reality of love [secular art, especially music], … I had found her now: and the random shaft that I had shot towards the treasure dreamt but hitherto unknown, was my own Lohengrin, whom now I must give up as lost; to track more certainly the footsteps of that true Woman-hood, which should one day bring to me and all the world

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