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alternative means by which the “whites’ or “Aryans” came into being, except through Nature), that he was finally reduced to the following absurd proposition (which it is hard to believe he took seriously, given his intellectual history), taking its cue from Count Gobineau, and worthy, sad to say, of a crank:

“The more definitely has recent science [Darwin] inclined us to accept the natural descent of man’s lower races from the animal species most resembling them, the harder it is to assent to a derivation of the so-called white race from those black and yellow … . Whilst yellow races have viewed themselves as sprung from monkeys [I have read somewhere that Wagner was referencing something he read in a translation of the Ramayana], the white race traced back their origin to the gods, and deemed themselves marked out for rulership. It has been quite clear that we should have no History of Man at all, had there been no movements, creations and achievements of the white men … .” [1086W-{6-8/81} Herodom and Christendom – 3rd Supplement to ‘Religion and Art’: PW Vol. VI, p. 276]

The futility of Wotan’s quest to produce a hero truly free of all that Wotan loathes in himself, arising from the embarrassing fact that Wotan’s motive in seeking redemption through this hero is itself a part of what Wotan loathes (i.e., his subjection to egoism and fear of the end), exposes the truth behind Wagner’s own absurd desire to purge Jesus of his Jewish roots, or for that matter purge Wagner’s theoretical Aryans from taint by implication in the same evolution of species which produced all the so-called human races. Both cases represent Wagner’s wish to imagine man freed from his natural egoism: the problem with this, as Feuerbach pointed out, is that everything both good and bad in human nature stems from this egoism, even man’s wish to transcend it:

“… even if I carry my love beyond the confines of my country, even if I extend it to all men, self-love is not excluded from my universal love of mankind; for in men I love my own being, my race … . But if self-love is a necessary, universal principle, inseparable from all love, then religion too must confirm this principle. Wherever man combats human egoism (in the highly developed sense), whether in religion or in philosophy or in politics, he succumbs to sheer absurdity and madness; for the design underlying all human impulses, strivings, and actions, is to satisfy the needs of human nature, human egoism.” [208F-LER: p. 78]

“ … man’s will is also contained in his essential being; he cannot break with his nature; even the wish fantasies which depart from it are determined by it; they may seem to go far afield, yet they always fall back on it, just as a stone thrown into the air falls back on the ground.” [250F-LER: p. 164]

“True, egoism is the source of evil, but it is also the source of good, for what else but egoism gave rise to agriculture, commerce, the arts and the sciences? True, it is the source of all vices, but also the source of all virtues, for what gave rise to the virtue of honesty? Egoism, through the prohibition of theft! What molded the virtue of chastity? The egoism of those who did not wish to share their beloved with others, through the prohibition of adultery. What produced the virtue of truthfulness? The egoism of those who do not wish to be deceived and cheated, through the prohibition of lying.

(…) Moreover, vices are just as necessary, if not more so, for the preservation of states, at least of our despicable, unnatural and inhuman states, as are virtues.” [328F-LER: p. 304]

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