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Siegfried: Page 496
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Here, Wagner confirms that this rational path of science from un-knowledge to knowledge is the natural path of human evolution from unconsciousness to consciousness, i.e., from feeling to thought, or, if you will, from the Rhinedaughters’ love to Alberich’s power:

“… the march of human evolution is the rational and natural progress from the unconscious to the conscious, from un-knowledge to knowledge … .” [426W-{9-12/49} The Artwork of the Future: PW Vol. I, p. 80]

And here is one of Wagner’s more poetic accounts of the eventual victory of the scientific understanding of the world - which shows us the world as it “is” - over man’s propensity to mythologize and fantasize, i.e., the victory of “is” over what we feel “ought” to be:

“The passion for adventures, in which men yearned to realise the pictures of their fancy, condensed itself at last to a passion for undertakings whose goal, after the thousand-times proved fruitlessness of mere adventures – should be the knowledge of the outer world, a tasting of the fruit of actual experiences reaped on a definite path of earnest, keen endeavour. Daring voyages of discovery undertaken with a conscious aim, and profound scientific researches grounded on their results, at last uncloaked to us the world as it really is.” [494W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 164]

Feuerbach grasped how man’s increase in scientific knowledge would inevitably produce an increase in power over the world and men, particularly in those cultures, like the West, which were tolerant of intellectual inquiry, and were therefore weakening religion’s former stranglehold on thought:

“Let us not … find fault with Western man for not drawing the practical consequences of his religious faith, for highhandedly ignoring the implications of his faith and in reality, in practice, abjuring it; for it is solely to this inconsistency, this practical unbelief, this instinctive atheism and egoism that we owe all progress, all the inventions which distinguish Christians from Mohammedans, and Occidentals in general from Orientals. Those who rely on God’s omnipotence, who believe that whatever happens and is, happens and is by the will of God, will never cast about for means to remedy the evils of the world, either those natural evils which can be remedied – for there is no cure for death – or the evils of human society.” [253F-LER: p. 167]

And Feuerbach describes below how, through man’s gradual acquisition of more knowledge of himself and the natural world, man eventually replaces the false promises of religion with concrete – and though finite, ever increasing - satisfaction of man’s natural needs and desires within the real world:

“Those human desires that are not imaginary and fantastic are fulfilled in the course of history, of the future. Many desires which today remain mere desires will someday be fulfilled; innumerable things which the presumptuous champions of present-day religious dogmas and institutions, present-day social and political conditions, regard as impossible, will one day be reality; innumerable things that today we do not know but would like to know, will be known to our descendents. We must therefore modify our goals and exchange divinity, in which only man’s groundless and gratuitous desires are fulfilled, for the human race or human nature, religion for

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