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Twilight of the Gods: Page 908
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Bruennhilde’s contempt for Hagen’s offer to wreak vengeance on Siegfried for betraying her stems from Wagner’s notion that the higher man (as always, he really means the artistic genius) lives daily in a world which, if imparted to the average, practical man, would drive him to despair and suicide (however, Bruennhilde doesn’t know her man Hagen, who is perfectly equal to this):

“Now the great, the truly noble spirit is distinguished from the common organisation of everyday by this; to it every, often the seemingly most trivial, incident of life and world-intercourse is capable of swiftly displaying its widest correlation with the essential root-phenomena of all existence, thus of showing Life and the World themselves in their true, their terribly earnest meaning. The naïve, ordinary man – accustomed merely to seize the outmost side of such events, the side of practical service for the moment’s need – when once this awful earnestness suddenly reveals itself to him through an unaccustomed juncture, falls into such consternation that self-murder is very frequently the consequence. The great, exceptional man finds himself each day, in a certain measure, in the situation where the ordinary man forthwith despairs of life.” [707W-{64-2/65} On State and Religion: PW Vol. IV, p. 32]

Wagner’s thesis above suggests to us the price that Wotan would have paid had he become fully conscious of the implications of his confession to Bruennhilde, which were so troubling to him, so impossible to contemplate, that he had to repress his knowledge of these implications into his unconscious mind to keep from going mad or despairingly seeking to end his life (recalling that in his confession Wotan did in fact express his longing for “the end”). This also tells us something about the true cause of Gunther’s shame, since Gunther represents Siegfried’s audience for his inspired art, and Siegfried, by giving his muse of inspiration, and therefore the secrets she kept, to Gunther, has granted Gunther an insight into the formerly hidden, and catastrophically dangerous, source of Siegfried’s formerly unconscious artistic inspiration.

Bruennhilde has obviously mistaken Hagen for such an average man, not realizing that the objective man of science is even more fearless than Siegfried, because he confronts the bitter truth head-on without consolation or self-delusion, no matter how much it conflicts with his self-esteem. In fact, this is the reason why Hagen is permanently wakeful and melancholy, and Siegfried manically exuberant yet dreamy. Siegfried’s optimism is the product of his ignorance, his seeming innocence the product of his unconsciousness of his true, underlying motives. However, given Bruennhilde’s mis-identification of Hagen as an average man, she says, accompanied by a #150 variant, that a single glance of Siegfried’s flashing eye would make his greatest courage quail. And #150 is the motif which represents the forbidden hoard of dangerous runes which Wotan imparted to Bruennhilde in his confession, a hoard of knowledge Wotan couldn’t bear to contemplate. {{ This #150 variant seems also to contain a hint of #143, the “Hoard of the World Motif,” particularly those segments of it associated with Bruennhilde’s remark to Siegfried that he should respect what’s hers and not coerce her love, such as her statement: “Leave, oh leave me be!” }} Bruennhilde in S.3.3 had had a premonition of disaster, that in sharing with Siegfried Wotan’s unspoken secret, his hoard of runes, Siegfried might betray this secret to the light of day. And Siegfried experienced his own premonition of a grim future (T.P.2) when, thanking Bruennhilde for imparting Wotan’s hoard of runes to him, Siegfried said she gave him more than he knows how to cherish (i.e., a secret he will not be able to keep), but that she should not chide him if she’d left him untaught, as we heard #150. It is because Siegfried is the guardian of a hoard of knowledge so unbearable that Wotan, Lord of the gods himself (the Feuerbachian god, who represents collective

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