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Siegfried: Page 598
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who, purged of Wotan’s conscious awareness of contradiction, can become a “knower through feeling” as Wagner describes this phenomenon below:

[P. 208] “In presence of the Dramatic Artwork, nothing should remain for the combining Intellect to search for. Everything in it must come to an issue sufficient to set our [P. 209] Feeling at rest thereon; for in the setting-at-rest of this Feeling resides the repose, itself, which brings us an instinctive understanding of Life. In the Drama, we must become knowers through the Feeling. The Understanding tells us: ‘So is it,’ – only when the Feeling has told us: ‘So must it be.’ “ [520W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 208-209]

It is in this sense that the Woodbird has informed him of the use he can make of the Tarnhelm and Ring, allowing Siegfried to remain ignorant (that is to say, unconscious) of their use. This corresponds with what Siegfried will say to Bruennhilde in T.P.2 when he is about to depart from his muse to undertake new adventures (Wagner’s code for: undertake new deeds of art) in the outside world, after receiving inspiration from her. In response to Bruennhilde’s observation that she has imparted to Siegfried the runes the gods (that is to say, Wotan) have imparted to her, Siegfried asks her not to chide him if her teaching has nonetheless left him untaught. Because Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind, knows these things for him, Siegfried can grasp them subliminally without knowing them consciously. Thus he does indeed draw inspiration from Alberich’s Ring and Tarnhelm and even Hoard subliminally, and therefore from Wotan’s confession of his dangerous, unspoken secret, without having to pay the conscious price of fear which Alberich’s curse required of the Ring’s owner. This is the ultimate consequence of Froh’s remark in R.2 that thanks to Alberich’s sacrifice of love to win the Ring, the gods can now co-opt its power without paying Alberich’s price. It also explains the ultimate meaning of Wotan’s remark in R.2 that Loge’s cunning draws advantage from the enemy’s envy, for Loge is the archetype for the Waelsung heroes, and for the artist-hero Siegfried in particular.

Thus, thanks to Bruennhilde, Siegfried can live in the present, drawing subliminal inspiration from Alberich’s curse on the Ring without suffering from consciousness of it, while she holds for him, and protects him from, the disturbing knowledge of his venal origins, and fatal future:

“Siegfried lives entirely in the present, he is the hero, the finest gift of the will [i.e., the finest gift of Bruennhilde, who is Wotan’s “Will.”] [820W-{3/12/72} CD Vol. I, p. 466]

[P. 329] “Music cannot think: but she can materialise thoughts, i.e. she can give forth their emotional contents as no longer merely recollected, but made present. (…) [P. 330] … and inasmuch as we thus make our Feeling a living witness to the organic growth of one definite emotion from out another, we give to it the faculty of thinking: nay, we here give it a faculty of higher rank than thinking, to wit, the instinctive knowledge of a thought made real in Emotion.” [542W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 329-330]

And this aesthetic understanding through feeling, which for Wagner is more powerful than objective truth itself (at least subjectively and psychologically), this “Wonder” which the Wagnerian music-drama offers, is Wagner’s substitute for the old religious faith in the supernatural which, in fear of the objective truth, had imprisoned the mind, as he says in his explanation of the artistic “Wonder” (previously cited) below:

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