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Siegfried: Page 493
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over the earth, he tempers through that artistic cunning which allows him to draw advantage from Alberich’s Ring power, without paying its price in lovelessness. Wotan, in other words, can know Erda either objectively, as Alberich does, or subjectively, through aesthetic intuition, as he does through Erda’s daughter Bruennhilde, who sees what his objective eye, the eye oriented to the outer world, can’t see.

This identification of the hoard of knowledge Wotan gains by wandering the earth, with the knowledge he obtained from Erda by going down to her to learn the full truth about why he must live in fear, and to learn from her also how to end his fear, and the identification of both of these endeavors with both Alberich’s accumulation of his hoard of treasure in the bowels of the earth, and man’s collective, historical accumulation of knowledge of the world through experience, is a key to the understanding of this interpretation, so we will examine the evidence for it in depth. This will inevitably be, to some extent, redundant, since I have already examined this question in less detail in earlier chapters, but as we meet Wotan as the world wanderer for the first time in this scene it is advisable to reestablish his status as Wagner’s Feuerbachian metaphor for collective, historical man as a hoarder of knowledge.

I will begin by pointing out what would otherwise perhaps be inexplicable, that not only does Bruennhilde, in T.P.1, describe the knowledge the gods (she means Wotan) imparted to her (presumably in his confession) as “a bountiful hoard (‘Hort’) of hallowed runes,” but she describes Siegfried - who, by virtue of winning Bruennhilde, the repository of Wotan’s confession of his unspoken secret, has inherited Wotan’s hoard of runes - as the “Hoard of the world,” and as the “foolish Hoard of loftiest deeds.” One can see from these passages that it is absolutely wrong that some English translations render “Hort” in these contexts as “treasure,” since this ignores the link between Wotan’s hoard of knowledge and Alberich’s hoard of treasure, i.e., the identification of his Hoard as a metaphor for knowledge and the power it brings. In other words, though Fafner (Wotan’s, or religious man’s, fear of the truth) sits on Alberich’s Hoard as its guardian and protector in order to keep mankind from accessing it, i.e., to thwart intellectual inquiry, nonetheless, over time, Wotan (mankind) effectively continues to accumulate that hoard as knowledge of the Earth, through man’s wanderings (i.e., through man’s historical experience).

Feuerbach defined God as historical man’s collective self, and described what otherwise would be construed as the divine knowledge which is omniscient, as a metaphor for historical man’s gradual acquisition of deeper and more comprehensive experience of himself and his world, which over time increases our knowledge. The sum of Feuerbach’s argument in the following series of extracts is that over time, man teaches himself that what he has called God is actually only nature, and man himself understood as a part of nature. In other words, Dark-Alberich’s and Light-Alberich’s (Wotan’s) accumulation of their Hoard of knowledge will inevitably overthrow the gods of Valhalla:

“… God as the total of all realities or perfections is nothing other than the total of the attributes of the species – dispersed among men and realizing themselves in the course of world history – compendiously combined for the benefit of the limited individual. The domain of the natural sciences is, because of its quantitative size, completely beyond the capacity of the individual man to view and measure. (…) But what the individual man does not know and cannot do all of

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