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Siegfried: Page 544
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Alberich over his claim to reality. Wotan is effectively leaving Alberich heir to the real world, just as he did when he informed Bruennhilde during his confession to her in V.2.2 that he was leaving all that he despised, the real world and even the legacy of the gods, to Alberich’s son Hagen. Wagner provided an approximate description of Wotan’s position in his following account of the overall plot of the Ring:

[P. 8] “It is an attribute of the poet, to be riper in his inner intuition (Anschauung) of the essence of the world [i.e., the unbearable knowledge Wotan repressed into his unconscious mind, i.e., his “inner intuition,” through his confession to Bruennhilde] than in his conscious abstract knowledge: … I had already … finally completed … the poem of my ‘Ring des Nibelungen.’ With this conception I [Wotan] had unconsciously admitted to [P. 9] myself the truth about things human. Here everything is tragic through and through, and the Will, that fain would shape a world according to its wish [Wotan’s futile hope that his Waelsung race and daughter Bruennhilde can redeem the real world and gods from Alberich’s curse on the Ring], at last can reach no greater satisfaction than the breaking of itself in dignified annulment [Wotan’s resignation to Alberich’s inevitable victory, and longing to end it all for the gods, i.e., religious belief]. It was the time when I returned entirely and exclusively to my artistic plans, and thus, acknowledging Life’s earnestness with all my heart, withdrew to where alone can ‘gladsomeness’ abide.” [In view of the fact that the terrible truth can’t be altered, and that there is no alternative, supernatural realm in which we could find redemption from the real world, our only refuge is feeling, the aesthetic intuition of secular art, and particularly music, which escapes religious faith’s unwinnable war with natural science.] [694W-{64-2/65} On State and Religion: PW Vol. IV, p. 8-9]

The place in which gladness alone abides is neither the objective scientific knowledge of man and nature (which Alberich embraces because it alone is the key to worldly power), nor illusory belief in a supernatural realm of being which sustains the gods of Valhalla, but the subjective feeling which inspired art can impart, in which alone gladness abides because, not staking an open claim to the truth (i.e., the Ring), as both Alberich and Wotan have done, it is freed from the conflict between science and religion, yet satisfies religious man’s longing for the feeling of transcendent value (i.e., it figuratively restores Freia):

[P. 29] “… the hopelessly materialistic, industrially commonplace, entirely un-Goded aspect of the modern world is debitable to the counter eagerness of the common practical understanding to construe religious dogma by laws of cause-and-effect deduced from the phenomena of natural and social life, and to fling aside whatever rebelled against that mode of explanation as a reasonless chimera. (…)

But does this mean that Religion itself has ceased? –

No, no! It lives, but only at its primal source and sole true dwelling-place, within the deepest, holiest inner chamber of the Individual; there whither never yet has surged a conflict of the rationalist [Alberich] and the supranaturalist [Wotan], the Clergy and the State. For this is the essence of true [P. 30] Religion: that, away from the cheating show of the daytide world [Wagner here is referencing Schopenhauer’s concept of the ideality of time, space, and causation, in which it is human perception alone which imputes natural law to the world. The practical consequence of this is that it allows us to construe scientific knowledge as an illusion and smuggle transcendent value back into the cosmos, and grants human feeling the status of the most substantial reality], it

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