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The Valkyrie: Page 392
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would identify with Schopenhauer’s concept of the Will-in-Nature]. Science thus bears the burden of the sins of Life [i.e. Wotan’s confession of his hoard of knowledge], and expiates them by her own self-abrogation; she ends in her direct antithesis, in the knowledge of Nature, in the recognition of the unconscious, instinctive, and therefore real, inevitable, and physical [i.e., Wotan confesses his sin against the bitter truth, and longing to redeem his consoling illusions from it, to Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind]. (…)

The end of Science is the justifying of the Unconscious, the giving of self-consciousness to Life, the re-instatement of the Senses in their perceptive rights, the sinking of [P. 73] Caprice in the world-Will (‘Wollen’) of Necessity [i.e., the “willing of Necessity”; Ellis had no justification for translating “Wollen” as “world-Will”: I am indebted to Derrick Everett for this insight.]. Science is therefore the vehicle of Knowledge [Alberich’s and Wotan’s hoard of objective knowledge] … ; but Life [i.e., feeling, love, music, aesthetic intuition] is the great ultimate, a law unto itself. As Science melts away into the recognition of the ultimate and self-determinate reality, of actual Life itself: so does this avowal win its frankest, most direct expression in Art, or rather in the Work of Art.

The actual Art-work, i.e., its immediate physical portrayal, in the moment of its liveliest embodiment, is therefore the only true redemption of the artist [Wotan redeemed by Siegfried]; the uprootal of the final trace of busy, purposed choice [Wotan’s consciousness]; the confident determination of what was hitherto a mere imagining; the enfranchisement of thought in sense [i.e., the conversion of Wotan’s thought into Bruennhilde’s feeling, embodied in Wagner’s musical motifs] … .

The Art-work, thus conceived as an immediate vital act, is therewith the perfect reconcilement of Science with Life … .” [418W-{9-12/49} The Artwork of the Future: PW Vol. I, p. 72-73]

And Wagner says additionally that:

[P. 74] “ … Intellect, with all its arrogant divorce from Life, can see at last no other refuge from actual insanity [recalling that Wotan is losing his mind when he seeks refuge through his confession to Bruennhilde], than in the unconditional acknowledgment of this only definite and visible force. And this vital force is – the Folk (das Volk) [recalling that Wagner described Elsa in “A Communication To My Friends” as the Folk, and also as Lohengrin’s unconscious mind, what Wagner means here is that the Folk is humanity’s collective unconscious, i.e., Bruennhilde]. [P. 75] The ‘Folk’ is the epitome of all those men who feel a common and collective Want (‘gemeinschaftliche Noth’) [i.e., Wotan’s need for redemption from science’s abhorrent truths, in religious belief or secular art].” [419W-{9-12/49} The Artwork of the Future: PW Vol. I, p. 73-75]

Siegfried’s and Bruennhilde’s art, in other words, will redeem man from the unbearable truth by taking possession of it aesthetically, to transmute the horrific history of the world (Wotan’s confession of virtually the entire plot of the Ring) into redemptive art.

And here below we find Wagner providing supporting evidence for our thesis that it is Wotan’s hoard of knowledge acquired from Erda (thanks to Alberich’s Ring) that provides the material and ultimate inspiration for the Wagnerian music-drama which the redeemer Siegfried will produce, in order that religious feeling can live on when religious faith is dying:

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