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Siegfried: Page 535
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Siegfried has inherited from his spiritual ancestors, all prior inspired geniuses and moral heroes who are collectively represented by Siegfried’s father Siegmund, and his muse Sieglinde. But Siegmund and Sieglinde, Siegfried and Bruennhilde, all are products of Wotan, who is Wagner’s symbol for collective humanity, historical man, whom Feuerbach identified as the true godhead behind the illusory God of the religious imagination. Wotan can be taken for the “Folk,” in general, and, since it was his dreaming (whose true, hidden source was the Giants’ – i.e., man’s instincts of self-preservation and desire – labor) which produced Valhalla, the realm of the gods, Wotan can be identified as the primal Folk who involuntarily and unconsciously gave birth to the gods through their artistic imagination (Loge). Wagner encapsulates these concepts in the following insightful passage, in which we may read the sword Nothung - which Siegfried, the individual genius of modern times, has re-discovered and re-forged - as the “long-since-hewn-causeway,” or legacy, which all prior geniuses have fashioned, so that he can take up the task where they left off, and read the “Folk” as Wotan:

[P. 288] “[Speaking of:] … the force which we commonly call Genius …, [Wagner says that:] That which operates so mightily upon this force that it must finally come forth to full productiveness, we have in truth to regard as the real fashioner and former, as the only furthering condition for that force’s efficacy, and this is the Art already evolved outside that separate force, the Art which from the artworks of the ancient and the modern world has shaped itself into a universal Substance [in other words, the religio-artistic legacy of collective, historical man, the Folk, Wotan], and hand in hand with actual Life, reacts upon the individual [the individual artist-hero Siegfried] with the character of the force that I have elsewhere named the communistic. Amid these all-filling and all-fashioning influences of Art and Life, there thus remains to the Individual but one chief thing as his own: namely Force, vital force, force to assimilate the kindred and the needful; and this is precisely that receptive-force which … – so soon as it opens its arms in love without reserve – must necessarily, with the attainment of its perfect strength, become at last productive force.

In epochs when this force, like the force of Individuality in general, has been entirely crushed out by state-discipline, or by the complete fossilisation of the outward forms of Life and Arts – as in China, or in Europe towards the end of the Roman world-dominion – neither have those phenomena [P. 289] which we christen by the name ‘Genius’ ever come to light: a plain proof that they are not cast upon life by the caprice of God or Nature. On the other hand, these phenomena were just as little known in those ages when both creative forces, the individualistic and the communistic, reacted on each other with all the freedom of unfettered Nature, forever fresh-begetting and ever giving birth anew. These are the so-called prehistoric times, the times when Speech, and Myth, and Art were really born. Then, too, the thing we call Genius was unknown: no one man was a Genius, since all men were it [Wotan, the Folk]. Only in times like ours, does one know or name these ‘Geniuses’ [The music-dramatist Siegfried]; the sole name that we can find for those artistic forces which withdraw themselves from the drillground of the State and ruling Dogma, or from the sluggard bolstering-up of tottering forms of Art, to open out new pathways and fill them with their innate life. Yet if we look a little closer, we shall find that these new openings are in no wise arbitrary and private paths, but continuations of a long-since-hewn main causeway [Siegfried re-forges his father Siegmund’s sword Nothung]; down which, before and with these solitary units, a joint and many-membered force of diverse individualities has poured itself, whose conscious or unconscious instinct has urged it to the abrogation of those forms by fashioning newer moulds of Life and Art. Here, then, we see again a common force, which includes within its

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