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Siegfried: Page 494
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mankind together knows and can do. Thus, the divine knowledge that knows simultaneously every particular has its reality in the knowledge of the species.” [177F-PPF: p. 17]

“In isolation human power is limited, in combination it is infinite. The knowledge of a single man is limited, but reason, science, is unlimited, for it is a common act of mankind, and it is so, not only because innumerable men co-operate in the construction of science, but also in the more profound sense, that the scientific genius of a particular age comprehends in itself the thinking powers of the preceding age … [thus we understand why Alberich gains ever greater power as he increases his hoard of treasure by mining the bowels of the earth (i.e., its inner essence, its laws), and why his Ring does not grant him absolute power, but only theoretically unlimited power, because the power consciousness grants us increases only as we increase our knowledge].” [77F-EOC: p. 83]

[P. 152] “All divine attributes … which make God God, are attributes of the species … . My knowledge, my will, is limited; but my limit is not the limit of another man, to say nothing of mankind; what is difficult to me is easy to another; what is impossible, inconceivable, to one age, is to the coming age conceivable and possible. My life is bound to a limited time; not so the life of humanity. The history of mankind consists of nothing else than a continuous and progressive conquest of limits, which at a given time pass for the limits of humanity, and [P. 153] therefore for absolute insurmountable limits. But the future always unveils the fact that the alleged limits of the species were only limits of individuals. The most striking proofs of this are presented by the history of philosophy and of physical science.” [105F-EOC: p. 152-153]

“… though there are numerous phenomena in nature whose physical, natural ground we have not yet discovered, it is absurd to resort to theology for that reason. What we do not know, posterity will find out.

How many things that our ancestors could explain only through God and His purposes we have derived from the workings of nature! There was a time when even the simplest, most natural, most necessary things were explained exclusively by teleology and theology.” [234F-LER: p. 134]

Wagner’s thinking, as illustrated by the following passages (each cited previously either in part or entire), emulates Feuerbach’s ruminations on mankind’s historical acquisition of a hoard of collective knowledge in considerable detail. In the following extract, for instance, Wagner, with some confusion, describes how Mother Nature effectively becomes conscious of herself in man, through his scientific inquiry and accumulation of knowledge over time, knowledge which eventually overthrows man’s religious error in positing transcendent beings, gods who by definition are autonomous from nature. Wagner’s confusion here arises from the fact that he is not only describing the objective knowledge of the kind which Alberich and Wotan gather, but also the aesthetic intuition, the sympathetic way of knowing Erda through feeling (love), which Light-Alberich (Wotan) alone acquires from Erda (through their daughter Bruennhilde) in order to redeem himself from the first kind of knowledge. This passage is so important that I reproduce it here entire, at the risk of confusing the reader:

“Error is the mother of Knowledge, and the history of the birth of Knowledge out of Error is the history of the human race, from the myths of primal ages down to the present day. Man erred, from the time when he set the cause of Nature’s workings outside the bounds of Nature’s self [i.e., man erred from the time he posited a creator-god who is autonomous from

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