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The Valkyrie: Page 406
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Valhalla - eternal, painless youth. Siegmund instinctively expresses here Feuerbach’s acknowledgment that all that we look for in heaven is only an imaginary, idealized projection of what can only be found imperfectly on earth, during our mortal life, and that we hide this contradiction from our conscious mind by covertly, subliminally smuggling the earthly into our conception of heaven to give it substance:

“But into the idea of the personal God, the positive idea of whom is liberated, disembodied personality, released from the limiting force of Nature, to smuggle again this very Nature, is as perverse as if I were to mix Brunswick mum with the nectar of the gods, in order to give the ethereal beverage a solid foundation.” [80F-EOC: p. 100]

“The soul yearns after its lost half, after its body; as God, the departed soul yearns after the real man. As, therefore, God becomes a man again, so the soul returns to its body, and the perfect identity of this world and the other is now restored.” [113F-EOC: p. 183]

Siegmund’s moral repugnance at the idea of renouncing earthly love for the eternal bliss of heaven finds part of its basis in Feuerbach:

“… your morality is the most immoral, the most pitiable, the most vain, and the most futile morality in the world if it derives from the belief in immortality … .” [18F-TDI: p. 126]

Wagner obviously took offence at the idea that great men of good will, like the saints, perform their good deeds solely in hope of winning eternal bliss in heaven:

“Over coffee our conversation turns to the saints, and R. gets heated about the idea, so common nowadays, that they are virtuous in the hope, as it were, of future profit.” [1084W-{6/18/81} CD Vol. II, p. 678]

Siegmund seems to know instinctively what Feuerbach knew, that what heaven promises is illusory, and that all value is found in our physical life on earth:

“ … all wishes of the heart, even the wish for a personal God and for heavenly felicity, are sensuous wishes; - the heart is essentially materialistic, it contents itself only with an object which is seen and felt.” [155F-EOC: p. 295]

And here Wagner emulates Feuerbach, insisting that love is not in fact transcendent, coming to us from above, but “proclaims in itself pure delight of physical existence”:

“… the redeemer without whom Power remains but violence … is … Love; yet not that revelation from above, imposed on us by precept and command, -- and therefore never realised, -- like the Christian’s: but that Love which issues from the Power of true and undistorted human nature; which in its origin is nothing other than the liveliest utterance of this nature, that proclaims itself in pure delight of physical existence and, starting from marital love, strides forward through the love for children, friends and brothers, right on to love for Universal Man.

This Love is thus the wellspring of all true Art, for through it alone can the natural flower of Beauty bloom from Life.” [452W-{2/50} Art and Climate: PW Vol. I, p. 263]

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