Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-2

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-2

Post by alberich00 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:52 am

[P. 15] “The difference between God’s knowledge or thought, which as an archetype precedes the objects and creates them, and man’s knowledge, which follows the objects as their copy, is nothing but the difference between apriori, or speculative, knowledge and a posteriori, or empirical, knowledge. (…)
[P. 16] But this divine knowledge, which is only an imaginary conception and a fantasy in theology, became rational and real knowledge in the knowledge of the natural sciences gained through the telescope and microscope.” [176F-PPF: p. 15-16]

“We have here an apparent example of the truth that man’s conception of God is
the human individual’s conception of his own species, that God as the total of all
realities or perfections is nothing other than the total of the attributes of the species
– dispersed among men and realizing themselves in the course of world history –
compendiously combined for the benefit of the limited individual. The domain of
the natural sciences is, because of its quantitative size, completely beyond the
capacity of the individual man to view and measure. (…) But what the individual
man does not know and cannot do all of mankind together knows and can do.
Thus, the divine knowledge that knows simultaneously every particular has its
reality in the knowledge of the species.” [177F-PPF: p. 17]

“… the being in whom nature becomes personal, conscious, and rational is man. … unconscious nature is the eternal, uncreated being, the first being … in time but not in rank, physically but not morally; man with his consciousness is … second in time, but in rank the first.” [193F-LER: p. 21]

[P. 25] “The ancient atheists, and even a great many theists both ancient and modern, have called fear the ground of religion; but fear is merely the most widespread and obvious expression of [P. 26] the feeling of dependency.” [196F-LER: p. 25-26]

“The object of religion … is not the thauma, the wonder, but the oneiar, the blessing, i.e., the god as an object not of astonishment, but of fear and hope; he is worshiped, he is the object of a cult, not because of those attributes that arouse astonishment and admiration, but because of those that establish and preserve human existence, that appeal to man’s sense of dependency.” [202F-LER: p. 47]

“For if a being’s worthiness to be worshiped, hence his divine dignity, depends solely on his relation to human welfare, if only a being beneficial and useful to man is divine, then the ground of divinity is to be sought solely in human egoism, which relates everything to itself and evaluates it solely in accordance with this relationship. (…) I find fault with religion only where the egoism it reflects is utterly base, as in teleology, where religion turns the relation that an object, and nature in particular, has to man, into the very essence of that object, and of nature, and where for that very reason religion takes an unboundedly egoistic, contemptuous attitude toward nature; or where, as in the Christian belief in miracles and immortality, it is an unnatural, supernatural, and chimerical egoism, exceeding the limits of necessary, natural egoism.” [204F-LER: p. 62]

“How untrue we Germans have become to our source, our mother, and how unlike her, thanks to Christianity which taught us that heaven is our home.” [211F-LER: p. 85]
“The very nature of thought and speech, the requirements of life itself oblige us to make use of abbreviations on every hand, to substitute concepts for intuitions, signs for objects, in a word, the abstract for the concrete, the one for the many, and accordingly one cause for many different causes, one individual for different individuals as their representative. In this sense is it perfectly right to say that reason, at least as long as reason, not yet disciplined by observation of the world, regards itself uncritically as the essence of the world, … leads necessarily to the idea of divinity.” [215F-LER: p. 97]

“Why … should we not confine ourselves to the world, since in any case we cannot go above or outside it, since even the idea and hypothesis of God throws us back on the world … .” [218F-LER: p. 101]

[P. 104] “Power is the first predicate of the Godhead or rather, it is the first god. (…) [P. 105] The theists themselves expressly distinguish God’s power from His will and reason. But what is this power distinguished from will and reason if not the power of nature?” [220F-LER: p. 104-105]

[P. 109] “The God whose sun shines on the just and the unjust, believers and unbelievers, Christians and pagans alike is indifferent to such religious distinctions, He knows nothing of them; this God, in truth, is nothing other than Nature. (…) [P. 110] … there is no way of explaining the thousands and thousands of contradictions, perplexities, difficulties, and inconsistencies in which religious belief involves us, unless we acknowledge that the original God was a being abstracted from nature and accordingly replace the mystical, ambiguous name and being of God with the name and being of nature.” [221F-LER: p. 109-110]

“God’s goodness is merely the utility of nature, ennobled by the imagination, by the poetry of man’s emotions, personified and transformed into an active force. But because nature is also the cause of effects that are hostile and harmful to man, he personifies and deifies this cause in an evil God.” [222F-LER: p. 111]

“Man is an egoist; he is infinitely fond of himself, he believes that all things exist for his sole benefit and that there neither should nor can be evils. But he runs into facts that conflict with this self-centered faith; he therefore supposes that evil befalls him only when he transgresses against the being or beings from whom he derives everything that is good and helpful, so arousing their anger. (…)
This also accounts for the Christian belief that nature was once a paradise, in which there was nothing hostile or harmful to man, but that this paradise was lost through sin, which aroused God’s anger.” [224F-LER: p. 112]

“ … what is first for man, or at least for his faculty of abstraction, is last for or in nature; but because man turns the subjective into the objective, because he transforms what is first for him into the first as such or in nature, he regards space and time as the first foundations of nature, and since the universal, that is, the abstract, has thus become the foundation of the real, man comes to regard the being who is nothing but a bundle of universal concepts, the thinking, spiritual being, as the first being, as the being who precedes all other beings not only in rank but also in time, who is indeed the ground and cause of all being and the Creator of all beings.” [228F-LER: p. 119]

“There is a necessary relationship between the organic and the inorganic. (…) Man … owes his existence and origin to the interrelation of all nature.. (…)
(…) The earth is what it is only because of the place it occupies in the solar system, and it was not so placed in order that man and animals might be able to live on it, but the other way around. Because it occupies this position by necessity, in accordance with its fundamental nature, in short, because it is as it now is, such organic beings as are found on earth came into being on it and live on it. On the earth itself we observe how particular countries and regions produce particular animals and plants, … how organic and inorganic nature go inseparably hand in hand and are indeed essentially one.” [231F-LER: p. 128]

“A God … is merely the hypostatized and objectified essence of the human imagination. A God has all the wonders of the imagination at his command; a God can do everything; like man’s desires, like man’s fancy … .” [236F-LER: p. 136]

[P. 154] “But the spirit and its activity – for what is the spirit but mental activity, hypostatized and personified by human imagination and language? – are also physical activity, the activity of the brain, which differs from other activities only insofar as it is the activity of a different organ, namely, the brain. But … because the activity of the brain is the most hidden, withdrawn, soundless, and [P. 155] imperceptible activity, man has come to look upon this activity as an absolutely disembodied, inorganic, abstract being, to which he has given the name of spirit. But since this being owes its existence solely to man’s ignorance of the organic conditions of thought and to the imagination with which he compensates for his ignorance; since this ‘spirit’ is therefore merely a personification of man’s ignorance and imagination, all the difficulties it involved are dispelled.” [242F-LER: p. 154-155]

“ …a few modern theist thinkers or philosophers of religion abandoned the old doctrine of a creatio ex nihilo [creation from nothing], which is a necessary consequence of the notion that the world sprang from the spirit – for where is this spirit to derive matter, the material substances, if not from nothingness? – and transformed God Himself into a material, corporeal being, precisely in order to explain the world through Him. (…) Schelling and Franz Baader have argued this doctrine. But it originated with certain older mystics, notably Jakob Boehme, who was born in 1575 in Oberlausitz and died in 1624. A Shoemaker by trade, Boehme was undoubtedly a most extraordinary thinker. He distinguished positive and negative attributes in God, light or fire and darkness, good and evil, mildness and severity, love and wrath, in short, spirit and matter, soul and body.” [244F-LER: p. 156]

“ … all of us are materialists before we become idealists, we all serve the body, the lower needs and senses, before we rise to spiritual needs and sensibilities … .” [245F-LER: p. 156]

“ … 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]

“Let us not … find fault with Western man for not drawing the practical consequences of his religious faith, for highhandedly ignoring the implications of his faith and in reality, in practice, abjuring it; for it is solely to this inconsistency, this practical unbelief, this instinctive atheism and egoism that we owe all progress, all the inventions which distinguish Christians from Mohammedans, and Occidentals in general from Orientals. Those who rely on God’s omnipotence, who believe that whatever happens and is, happens and is by the will of God, will never cast about for means to remedy the evils of the world, either those natural evils which can be remedied – for there is no cure for death – or the evils of human society.” [253F-LER: p. 167]

“Nature is … blind and without understanding; it is what it is and does what it does, not intentionally, not with knowledge and will, but of necessity; or if, as we should, we include man in nature – for he too is a natural being or creature – its only reason is human reason.” [255F-LER: p. 171]

“ … the origin of organic beings, the origin of the earth, and even of the sun if we conceive of it as having come into being, was never anything but a natural process; … in trying to visualize and understand this origin, we must not take man, the artist, the artisan, the thinker, who builds the world out of his thoughts, as our starting point, but nature – just as the ancient peoples, whose sound natural instinct led them, at least in their religious and philosophical cosmogonies, to take the reproductive process as the model and prototype of world creation; … that nature cannot be derived from spirit, cannot be explained on the basis of a God, because all those attributes of God that are not patently human are derived and abstracted from nature alone.” [257F-LER: p. 174]

[P. 174] “ … it is the human faculty of [P. 175] abstraction and the related imagination (for it is only thanks to his imagination that man hypostatizes abstract, universal concepts and comes to conceive of them as entities, as Ideas) that lead him to look outside the sensuous world and to derive it from a non-sensuous, abstract being.” [258F-LER: p. 175]

[P. 177] “But what is it that transforms a natural phenomenon into a human being? The imagination. (…)
[P. 178] Christians designate the theoretical religious faculty by the word faith or belief. (…) But on closer scrutiny the words mean nothing other than imagination.” [259F-LER: p. 177-178]

[P. 180] “ … a God is an imaginary being, a product of fantasy; and because fantasy is the essential form or organ of poetry, it may also be said that religion is poetry, that a God is a poetic being.
If religion is taken as poetry, may it not be inferred that to abolish religion, to break it down into its basic components, is to do away with poetry and all art? (…) My adversaries throw up their hands in horror at the hideous desolation to [P. 181] which my doctrine would reduce human life, since in their opinion it would destroy poetry along with religion and so deprive mankind of all poetic drive. (…)
(…) Far from annulling art, poetry, imagination, I deny religion only insofar as it is not poetry, but common prose. And this brings us to an essential limitation of the statement that religion is poetry. In a sense it is poetry, but with one important difference: poetry and art in general do not represent their creations as anything but what they are, namely products of art, whereas religion represents its imaginary beings as real beings.” [261F-LER: p. 180-181]

“… unless religion enters in, an artist merely expects his images to be faithful and beautiful; he does not claim that a semblance of reality is reality itself. Religion, on the other hand, deceives people, or rather people deceive themselves in religion; for it does claim that the semblance of reality is reality, that an image is a living being. But this being lives only in the imagination … .” [262F-LER: p. 183]

“As long as art serves religion and is not its own master, it produces works, as the history of Greek and Christian art demonstrates, that can make no claim to being works of art.” [263F-LER: p. 183]

“ … the eye with which man first contemplates nature is not the intelligence that makes experiments and observations, but solely the imagination, the poetic faculty. But what does the imagination do? It fashions everything in man’s image; it transforms nature into an image of man.” [267F-LER: p. 190]

“ … what is a dream? It is the imagination unchecked by the laws of reason and sense perception. (…) I have mentioned dreams only as striking examples of the religious power of the imagination over men.” [268F-LER: p. 196]

“ … the religious imagination is not the free imagination of the artist, but has a practical egoistic purpose, or in other words, … the religious imagination is rooted in the feeling of dependency and attaches chiefly to objects that arouse it. (…) This feeling of anxiety, of uncertainty, this fear of harm that always accompanies man, is the root of the religious imagination … .” [269F-LER: p. 196]

“ … although in theory the theists place truth above good cheer, in practice the power to provide consolation is their sole criterion of truth or untruth; they reject a doctrine as untrue because it provides no consolation, because it is not as comforting and comfortable, as flattering to human egoism, as the opposite doctrine which derives nature from a personal being who guides the course of nature in accordance with the prayers and desires of man.” [273F-LER: p. 204]

“Unable to satisfy his desires by his own resources, a child turns to his parents, the beings on whom he feels and knows himself to be dependent, in the hope of obtaining what he wishes through them. Religion has its origin, its true position and significance, in the childhood stage of mankind. But the childhood stage is also the stage of ignorance and inexperience, the uneducated, uncivilized stage.” [277F-LER: p. 209]

[P. 209] “Religion arises solely in the night of ignorance, in times of misery, helplessness, and rudimentary culture, when for this very reason the imagination overshadows all man’s other powers, where man entertains the wildest and most extravagant ideas. Yet it also springs from man’s need of light, of culture … ; it is indeed the first, still crude and vulgar form of human culture … . Everything which later became a field of independent human activity, of culture, was originally an aspect of religion: all the arts, all the sciences, or rather, the first beginnings, the [P. 210] first elements – for as soon as an art or science achieves a high state of development, it ceases to be religion – were originally the concern of religion and its representatives, the priests.” [278F-LER: p. 209-210]

[P. 216] “In all other fields man progresses; in religious matters he remains stone-blind, stone-deaf, and rooted to the spot. Religious institutions, customs and articles of faith continue to be held sacred even when they stand in the most glaring contradiction to man’s more advanced reason and ennobled feelings; even when the original justification and meaning of these same institutions and conceptions are long forgotten. We ourselves are living amid this same repugnant contradiction between religion and culture; our religious doctrines and usages also stand in the most glaring contradiction to our present cultural and material situation; our task [P. 217] today is to do away with this loathsome and disastrous contradiction. Its elimination is the indispensable condition for the rebirth of mankind, the one and only condition for the appearance of a new mankind, as it were, and for the coming of a new era. Without it, all political and social reforms are meaningless and futile. A new era also requires a new view of the first elements and foundations of human existence; it requires – if we wish to retain the word – a new religion!” [283F-LER: p. 216-217]

“ … 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 spring from man himself, and he is capable of knowing them down to their remotest depths. And because he can know them, he ought to know them. (…) The elimination of this lie is the condition for a new, energetic mankind.” [284F-LER: p. 219]

“That I believe in God means: I believe there is no nature, no necessity. Let the rationalists drop their belief in God, or let them drop physics, astronomy, and physiology. No man can serve two masters. (…)
(…) There are in point of fact men who in practice deny, reject, and ridicule what in their minds they profess, or conversely deny with their minds what they profess in their hearts … .” [285F-LER: p. 223]

[P. 233] “The Christian fulfills all these desires, or provides himself with the possibility of their fulfillment, by means of a [P. 234] being who, in his imagination, is above and outside of nature, and in the face of whose will nature is powerless or nonexistent.” [289F-LER: p. 233-234]

[P. 236] “If we now turn to miracles, we shall find that they objectify, embody, realize nothing other than the essence of a wish. (…) [P. 237] Wishes are not subject to the barriers of space and time; they are unrestricted, unfettered, as free as a god.” [291F-LER: p. 236-237]

“The only difference between the wishes without which there is no religion or God and the wishes without which there is no mankind, without which man is not man, is that religion has wishes that can be fulfilled only in the imagination, in faith, whereas man as man, the man who replaces religion with culture, reason, science and replaces heaven by earth, has desires that do not exceed the limits of nature and reason and whose realization lies within the realm of natural possibility.” [296F-LER: p. 249]

[P. 262] “ … from man’s desire to know everything, from his infinite thirst for knowledge, which is not and cannot be satisfied here below, from man’s infinite striving for happiness, which no earthly possession or good fortune can satisfy, from his yearning for perfect morality, sullied by no sensuous drives, don’t Christians, and even the present-day Christian rationalists, infer the necessity and reality of an infinite life and existence for man, not limited to the time of a man’s life span or the space of this earth, unfettered by the body or by death? (…)
(…) But what does this infinity of the divine attributes reveal? Nothing but the infinity or unlimitedness of human desires, of the human imagination and faculty of abstraction, of man’s power or [P. 263] ability to abstract the universal from the individual and particular … .” [300F-LER: p. 262-263]

“In theory, in doctrine, immortality is merely a consequence of the belief in God; but in practice, in reality, the belief in immortality is the motive for the belief in God. (…)
(…) … the divinity and eternity of a nature god … do not imply human immortality: nature is heartless, impervious to man’s wishes, without concern for man.” [303F-LER: p. 267]

“ … in the divine omniscience man merely fulfills his own desire to know everything, or objectifies the faculty of the human mind not to be limited in its knowledge to this or that object, but to encompass all things. In divine ubiquity, he fulfills his desire not to be tied to any place, or objectifies the faculty of the human mind to be everywhere at once. In divine eternity, he merely fulfills the desire not to be restricted to any time, not to have an end, or merely objectifies the endlessness … and beginninglessness of the human essence, the human soul; for if man’s soul cannot die, cannot end, it also … cannot begin, or come into being. In divine omnipotence, man merely fulfills his desire to be able to do everything, a desire that is related to, or a consequence of, the desire to know everything; for, as Bacon said, knowledge is power … .” [308F-LER: p. 274]

“ … atheism is positive and affirmative; it gives back to nature and mankind the dignity of which theism has despoiled them; it restores life to nature and mankind, which theism had drained of their best powers.” [317F-LER: p. 283]

“When we explain religion by fear, we must … take into account not only the lowest form of fear, fear of one natural phenomenon or another, the fear that begins and ends with a storm at sea, a tempest, or an earthquake, in other words the fear that is circumscribed in time and space, but also the fear that is limited to no particular object, the perpetual, ever present fear which embraces every conceivable misfortune, in a word, the infinite fear of the human soul.” [319F-LER: p. 287]

“ … love goes back to the beginning of the world, but fear extends to the end of the world; love made the First Day, but fear made the Day of Judgment.
In short, where the creative omnipotence of human fear ceases, the omnipotence of divine love also ceases.” [320F-LER: p. 290]
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