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Siegfried: Page 567
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The Tarnhelm, metaphor for the imagination, grants its owner the gift of altering the shape of things and transcending the limits of time and space which constrain our bodies, for the mind can think of things absent in both time and space, i.e., things that are distant in time, such as the past and future, or distant in space, i.e., not here, but elsewhere:

“ … this power of faith or God, unhampered by the laws of nature, is precisely the power of the imagination, to which nothing is impossible. Faith sees the invisible … . And the imagination, as well, is not of things which are seen but of things which are not seen. The imagination concerns itself exclusively with things and beings which are no longer or not yet, or which at least are not present.” [260F-LER: p. 179]

This manipulation of reality - when in the service of religious man’s illusions predicated on existential fear (fear both of concrete threats and of the truth) and on longing for eternal bliss - distorts things utterly, whereas imagination in the service of objective knowledge condenses the essential facts about things widely distributed in time and space into one coherent, unified picture, disclosing the laws behind motion or change, i.e., what remains constant behind the diversity of experience. It was, after all, thanks to the Tarnhelm that Alberich was able to wield his Ring power to spur his fellow Nibelungs to ever greater efforts to dig up the treasures, the essential forms, hidden with nature, i.e., Erda’s Navel-nest (Nibelheim).

Siegfried the artist-hero can only truly be free, free of religious faith’s control over the expression of art - which up until modern times was in the service of religious belief - if Siegfried overcomes the fear of the new and spontaneous, the fear of change, and particularly the fear of that hoard of forbidden knowledge which would overthrow belief in the gods. Siegfried, in other words, has to kill Wotan’s fear, incarnate in Fafner, to emancipate himself and free himself to cast off the gods (religion), so that Siegfried can win his muse of secular art (remembering that Wotan has taken away Bruennhilde’s godhead), Bruennhilde. As Feuerbach said, because religious faith makes promises of practical (even if infinite) assuagement of the basic need for self-preservation and the desire for painless, never-ending bliss, it satisfies egoism instead of the aesthetic sense. Art, of course, has always been conscripted by religion to serve its egoistic ends until its fairly recent emancipation in the Western world.

The egoism in this case is to be found most obviously in the competition between Wotan (i.e., the Nibelung-part of Wotan, Mime) and Alberich for the Ring’s power, i.e., their competition to control the conscious mind’s understanding of the world (be it practical and objective, as expressed by science, technology, and politics, or supernatural and therefore subjective, as expressed in religious belief), while Feuerbach’s “love” Wagner came to identify with art, and especially music, which is feeling divorced from conceptual thought. Note here Feuerbach’s distinction of love from faith:

“… egoism alone is the secret of faith as distinct from love, the secret of religion as distinct from ethics … .” [342F-LER: p. 300]

Why is religion egoistic? Because religious belief makes practical promises which stake a claim on the truth for the sake of assuaging man’s egoistic fears and satisfying his infinite, egoistic desires. To this end, once religious faith is established, it is man’s primary foundation for establishing

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