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most universal sense, man’s desire to establish a secure foundation for the life of the individual within society, to preserve it or even to perpetuate it infinitely if possible, which is precisely what religious faith, custom, and tradition offer. And note: Feuerbach adds that the elimination of the contradiction between the illusions which sustain human life, and truth (say, by Hagen, or Siegfried), will bring about man’s rebirth, a new religion. For Feuerbach, this new religion comprises natural science, secular art, and society predicated on the understanding that man creates his own values, that they are not immutable norms revealed to mortal men by divine beings. For Wagner, however, the new religion is his music-drama, which has no place for natural science.

[S.2.1: G]

Wotan, in a final insult which on the surface seems like it expresses sympathy for Alberich’s cause, seems to acknowledge for the first time not only that all things act in accordance with their innate character, their fate or natural necessity, but also acknowledges what follows from this, that in that case nothing can be altered, and Wotan thereby implies, there is no escaping the gods’ fated twilight which Erda foresaw:

Wotan: (#?: [hint of harmony associated with a specific motif?]) This one thing – I advise you (:#?) – heed it well: (approaching him, confidingly: #2 >>:) all things go their different ways [“Alles is nach seiner Art”]; you can alter nothing [“an ihr wirst du nichts aendern”]) (:#2). – I leave the field to you: stand firm! Try your luck with your brother, Mime; his kind you understand better. (turning to go: #83 segment based on #21?; #127 vari: [as a triumphant horn theme]) As for the rest, learn that, too (:#83 segment or vari based on #21?; :#127 vari horns)!

 

(He quickly disappears into the forest. The stormwind rises, a bright glow breaks out: then both pass away again. Alberich watches the Wanderer riding away. #83?, #57, #112, #91)

 

Alberich: (#112:; #91:) Away he rides on his shining steed and leaves me to care and scorn (:#112; :#91)! (#99/#91) (#112/#91:) But laugh away, you light-hearted, high-living gang of gods (:#112/#91): (#51) I’ll see you all perish yet! (#51) As long as the gold still glints in the light, (#51:) then one who knows keeps watch (:#51): - (#50:) his defiance will yet defeat you (:#50).

 

(#126/#48, #126 inverted: He slips into the cleft at the side. The stage remains empty. Dawn)

Wotan can now afford to “go under,” as it were, since all that he values in himself will be reborn in Siegfried’s love for Bruennhilde, i.e., inspired secular art, and all that he despises in his own character will pass away with the deaths of Fafner and Mime at Siegfried’s hands. As he

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