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Siegfried: Page 562
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God, who is the reification of man’s longing for transcendent value, fears the claims made upon him by his natural heritage, his evolutionary past, as represented by Alberich, the Giants, and Erda]. (…) The gravest defects I deem the banishment from the new world-system of the term spontaneous, of spontaneity itself [i.e., science’s threat to undermine Wotan’s hope to find redemption from the real world in a transcendently free and spontaneous hero whose deeds owe nothing to Wotan or any other worldly preconditions] … . For we now are told that, as no change has ever taken place without sufficient ground, so the most astonishing phenomena – of which the work of ‘genius’ [Siegfried] forms the most important instance – result from various causes, very many and not quite ascertained as yet, ‘tis true, but which we shall find it uncommonly easy to get at when Chemistry has once laid hold on Logic. Meanwhile however, the chain of logical deductions not stretching quite so far as an explanation of the work of Genius, inferior nature-forces generally regarded as faults of temperament, such as impetuousity of will, one-sided energy and stubbornness, are called in to keep the thing as much as possible upon the realm of Physics.

As the progress of the Natural Sciences [Alberich’s and Wotan’s accumulation of a hoard of knowledge of themselves and their world] thus involves the exposure of every mystery of Being as mere imaginary secrets after all, the sole concern must henceforth be the act of knowing [Wotan’s fear that Alberich, the “Knower,” will destroy both the gods and their heroes, and inherit the world]; but intuitive knowledge appears to be entirely excluded, since it might lead to metaphysical vagaries, namely to the cognizance of relations which are rightly withheld from abstract scientific comprehension until such time as Logic shall have settled them upon the evidence of Chemistry.

[P. 76] … I believe we are justified in concluding that the purely comprehending Subject [Alberich, or his proxy Hagen], enthroned on the cathedra, is left with sole right to existence. A worthy close to the world-tragedy! (…) … to Art [say, Siegfried the music-dramatist’s loving union with his muse of artistic inspiration, Bruennhilde] – which the Goliath of Knowledge more and more regards as a mere rudiment from the earliest stage of human reason, not unlike the os coccyx we still retain from the animal tail – he only pays attention when it offers archaeologic prospects of his launching some Historical thesis … .” [924W-{3-7/78} Public and Popularity: PW Vol. VI, p. 74-76]

Though Alberich knows that Wotan and the gods, the religious beliefs which have kept Alberich from realizing the full potential power of his objective consciousness and knowledge, are predestined to destruction by the truth for which only Alberich possesses the courage, nonetheless Wotan’s self-confidence has left Alberich uneasy. Perhaps Wotan’s proxy Siegfried will succeed in pre-empting Alberich’s quest to restore his rightful power where Wotan failed. But if Wotan lives on in his hero Siegfried, as Alberich implied, then presumably Alberich or his son and proxy Hagen will eventually defeat Siegfried also, by exposing Siegfried as merely the agent of Wotan’s hypocrisy and the heir to Wotan’s debts, and guilt. If Wotan thinks he can find safe refuge for the mysteries of religion in his artist-hero Siegfried, then it is Alberich’s and his son Hagen’s task, the task of the modern scientific spirit, to expose the allegedly mysterious processes of unconscious artistic inspiration, and in this way explain away the last stand of religious man’s attempt to preserve the mystery of being:

“ … man’s task in the state is not only to believe what he wishes, but to believe what is reasonable, not only to believe, but to know what he can and must know if he is to be a free and cultivated man. Here no barrier to human knowledge can excuse us. In the realm of nature, to be sure, there are still many things we do not understand; but the secrets of religion [Wotan’s confession to Bruennhilde]

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