Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-1

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Bruennhilde: Wotan's/Siegfried's unconscious Part B-1

Post by alberich00 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:53 am

Dear members of, and visitors to, the discussion forum:

I had promised both in November and December of 2016 to post here not only a detailed critical review of Sir Roger Scruton’s new book The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s ‘Ring of the Nibelung’, but also part B of my response to two questions posed by Dr. Philip Kitcher (from the Philosophy Dept. of Columbia Univ.), co-author with Dr. Richard Schacht (Philosophy Dept. at the Univ. of Illinois) of an interpretation of Wagner’s Ring, Finding an Ending (2004: Oxford Univ. Press). You will find my very extensive critical review of their book a few pages back in the archive of the discussion forum. Dr. Kitcher had asked how I could possibly support with reasoning and documentary evidence my hypotheses, expounded by me in my online study of Wagner’s Ring posted here at, The Wound That Will Never Heal, that, from an allegorical standpoint, Wotan is Siegfried reborn minus consciousness of his true identity, and Bruennhilde is Siegfried’s unconscious mind (and muse of unconscious artistic inspiration). I had suggested to Dr. Kitcher that he could find the answers to these two questions through a thorough reading of my approximately 950 page online book on Wagner’s Ring, The Wound That Will Never Heal, but Dr. Kitcher balked at this, informing me that in his initial efforts to read my online book he found my interpretation murky, and that further reading only proved to be murkier (this in spite of the fact that several members of this discussion forum had read it all the way through, or nearly so, and several posted their critical reviews in this discussion forum, and also in spite of the fact that Sir Roger Scruton had not only read my entire book, but was sufficiently impressed to sponsor the creation of this website back in 2011, in order that my book might be made universally available. Now, I might add, renowned Wagnerian scholar Barry Millington has offered his initial critical response to my book, after having taken the plunge into it. His response was posted a couple of days ago in this discussion forum.).

I did, however, complete Part A of my response to Dr. Kitcher’s two questions, and posted this multi-part response in this discussion forum. Part-A featured the evidence I had culled from the libretto text of Wagner’s Ring, which of course in my online book I considered in conjunction with Wagner’s musical motifs. Part B was to have featured all the passages from Feuerbach’s writings, and from Wagner’s writings and recorded remarks, which I tapped as evidence to support my two hypotheses which Dr. Kitcher had challenged. In the event, by December I managed to complete my selection of these passages from my anthology of Feuerbach’s writings and Wagner’s writings and recorded remarks. However, I have now run out of time to complete my annotation of these passages, and to complete my extensive critical review of Sir Roger Scruton’s new book on Wagner’s Ring, because I need to devote this year of 2017 exclusively to the completion of my revision of my online Ring book for publication in hardcopy. This has been taking quite a lot of time because my online book is so organically composed, so much of the detail in it supports other detail in it, that it is difficult to reduce it to a much briefer and accessible form without serious damage to the overall argument, but nonetheless this is absolutely necessary, and I am going to have to be fairly ruthless in making the appropriate cuts in my material.

In the meantime, since I did complete my selection of passages from Feuerbach’s writings and Wagner’s writings and recorded remarks for Part B (but without, however, having completed my commentary on these passages), I am posting below the approximately 150 pages of material from my critical chronological anthology of passages from Feuerbach’s writings, and from Wagner’s writings and recorded remarks, from which I drew for evidence to back up my assertions that Siegfried is Wotan reborn minus consciousness of his true identity, and Bruennhilde is Siegfried’s unconscious mind (and muse of unconscious artistic inspiration). Part B will probably be subdivided into 15 or 16 distinct parts, because there is a limit in this discussion forum of approximately 10 pages for each posting. I start, however, with a passage from Schopenhauer which has, so far as I know, been entirely overlooked by the scholarly world, and yet makes a case for both of my hypotheses, though there’s no evidence that Wagner had ever read this passage prior to his completion of the Ring libretto:

“The description of the origin of madness given in the text will become easier to understand, if we remember how reluctantly we think of things that powerfully prejudice our interests, wound our pride, or interfere with our wishes; with what difficulty we decide to lay such things before our intellect for accurate and serious investigation; how easily, on the other hand, we unconsciously break away or sneak off from them again; how, on the contrary, pleasant affairs come into our minds entirely of their own accord, and, if driven away, always creep on us once more, so that we dwell on them for hours. In this resistance on the part of the will to allow what is contrary to it to come under the examination of the intellect is to be found the place where madness can break in on the mind. Every new adverse event must be assimilated by the intellect, in other words, must receive a place in the system of truths connected with our will and its interests, whatever it may have to displace that is more satisfactory. As soon as this is done, it pains us much less; but this operation itself is often very painful, and in most cases takes place only slowly and with reluctance. But soundness of mind can continue only in so far as this operation has been correctly carried out each time. On the other hand, if, in a particular case, the resistance and opposition of the will to the assimilation of some knowledge reaches such a degree that that operation is not clearly carried through; accordingly, if certain events or circumstances are wholly suppressed for the intellect, because the will cannot bear the sight of them; and then, if the resultant gaps are arbitrarily filled up for the sake of the necessary connexion; we then have madness. For the intellect has given up its nature to please the will; the person then imagines what does not exist. But the resultant madness then become the Lethe of unbearable sufferings; it was the last resource of worried and tormented nature, i.e., of the will.” [Schopenhauer, Arthur; The World As Will and Representation - 2nd Edition published 1844; Volume 2, Chapter XXXII On Madness; P. 400-401; Dover Publications; Volume 2, 1969]

“Thinking arises only at the conclusion, … only at the end of all nature …; nature has arrived at its outer boundary in thinking: there it ceases.” [6F-TDI: p. 72]

“Nature has terminated and ended, and with its death, there arises over it a new world, the spirit.” [8F-TDI: p. 73]

“… will and consciousness (taken in their commonly used meanings) produce only mechanical results. But much more than will and analytical consciousness are needed for the production of living reality, or even for the works of genuine art and science; Spirit and genius are needed for them. (…) The artistic genius does not produce out of understanding, will, and consciousness, but out of the fullness of his soul, in which he is one with his productions … . Thus the works of genuine art are not mere works; they possess their grounds in themselves; they are therefore spiritual, inspired works. Nature is ground and principle of itself, … it exists out of necessity … .” [12F-TDI: p. 86]

“The free act of humanity must exist simultaneously as necessity in nature. The spiritual surrender of the self must also be a natural, physical surrender, … must be willed and established, not by your own intentional, self-conscious will, but by the universal will in your will. Natural death is thus the ultimate sacrifice of reconciliation, the ultimate verification of love.” [17F-TDI: p. 125]

“Only when history is nothing, only when the naked individual, the individual who is stripped of all historical elements, of all destiny, determination, purpose, measure, and goal, only when the vain, abstract, meaningless, empty individual is something, and therefore only when nothing is something, … only then is there nothing after death, only if the nothing after death is not also something. Thus those peculiar beings and strange subjects who think that they live only after life do not reflect that they attain and make up nothing at all with their afterlife, that as they posit a future life, they negate the actual life.” [20F-TDI: p. 133]

“Every moment of life is fulfilled being, is of infinite significance, exists for its own sake … . (…) Life is heavenly music that the exalted Artist of the universe conjures forth out of the instrument of nature. Fools say that life is a bare, empty sound, that it passes away like the breath … . But life is music. Every moment is a melody or a fulfilled, soulful, inspired tone. (…) Musical tones also pass away, but every tone is filled being, has a significance as tone. Transitoriness disappears as a meaningless reality without significance in comparison to this inner significance and soul of the musical tone.” [24F-TDI: p. 171]

“ ‘An Appendix for Ingenia tarda’: [slow minds]

Both [the mystic and the rationalist] cling to the surface of essence,
In which they see only themselves;
Only the deeper reality, which obliterates their picture,
Manifests essence and substance; thus the self fears the depths.” [29F-TDI: p. 210-211]

‘What I am’:

You ask what I am? A resurrected pagan
Who returned to life through the death of the Savior.” [32F-TDI: p. 224]

“ ‘To a pietist maiden’:

Young maiden, when you sacrificed nature for belief, you committed
Your only sin; otherwise, you still would be pure.” [36F-TDI: p. 249]

“ ‘Examples of the most glorious and noble deeds of women: (1) The Fall’:

“Eve led Adam astray.” I certainly am not upset by the fact
That she finally pulled the night cap off the head of the pious fool.

‘A motion for a new feast day’:

We should celebrate gratefully the day when
Eve misled Adam, for she only did it out of her love for us.” [37F-TDI: p. 250]

“ ‘Examples of the most glorious and noble deeds of women: (2) World-creation and philosophy of nature’:

Maya once drove away the melancholy of the ancient Brahma
So that a depressed person was changed into a creator of the world.” [38F-TDI: p. 250]

“Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality; we only see real things in the entrancing splendour of imagination and caprice, [arbitrariness] instead of in the simple daylight of reality and necessity.” [39F-EOC: p. xxxix]

“What … is it which acts on thee when thou art affected by melody? (…) What else than the voice of thy own heart?” [42F-EOC: p. 9]

[P. 10] “ … God is pure, [P. 11] unlimited, free Feeling. (…) … incapable of comprehending the spiritual grandeur of feeling, thou art terrified before the religious atheism of thy heart. By this fear thou destroyest the unity of thy feeling with itself, in imagining to thyself an objective being distinct from thy feeling, and thus necessarily sinking back into the old questions and doubts – is there a God or not? – questions and doubts which vanish, nay, are impossible, where feeling is defined as the essence of religion.” [43F-EOC: p. 10-11]

“Religion is the childlike condition of humanity … . … the historical progress of religion consists in this: that what by an earlier religion was regarded as objective, is now recognized as subjective; that is, what was formerly contemplated and worshipped as God is now perceived to be something human. (…) But the essence of religion, thus hidden from the religious, is evident to the thinker, by whom religion is viewed objectively, which it cannot be by its votaries.” [45F-EOC: p. 13]

“What would man be without feeling? It is the musical power in man. But what would man be without music? Just as man has a musical faculty and feels an inward necessity to breathe out his feelings in song; so, by a like necessity, he in religious sighs and tears streams forth the nature of feeling as an objective, divine nature.” [65F-EOC: p. 63]
“In isolation human power is limited, in combination it is infinite. The knowledge of a single man is limited, but reason, science, is unlimited, for it is a common act of mankind, and it is so, not only because innumerable men co-operate in the construction of science, but also in the more profound sense, that the scientific genius of a particular age comprehends in itself the thinking powers of the preceding age … .” [77F-EOC: p. 83]

“Man first unconsciously and involuntarily creates God in his own image, and after this God consciously and voluntarily creates man in his own image.” [86F-EOC: p. 118]

“… nature listens not to the plaints of man [as expressed in music and song], it is callous to his sorrows. Hence man turns away from Nature, from all visible objects. He turns within, that here, sheltered and hidden from the inexorable powers, he may find audience for his griefs. Here he utters his oppressive secrets; here he gives vent to his stilled sighs. This open air of the heart, this outspoken secret, this uttered sorrow of the soul, is God.” [93F-EOC: p. 122]

[P. 132] “The classic spirit, the spirit of culture, limits itself by laws, - not … by arbitrary, finite laws, but by inherently true and valid ones; it is determined by the necessity, the truth of the [P. 133] nature of things; in a word, it is the objective spirit. In place of this, there entered with Christianity the principle of unlimited, extravagant, fanatical, supranaturalistic subjectivity; a principle intrinsically opposed to that of science, and culture. With Christianity man lost the capability of conceiving himself as a part of Nature, of the universe.” [98F-EOC: p. 132-133]

”Even if that which pleases him cannot exist without being associated with that which displeases him, the subjective man is not guided by the wearisome laws of logic and physics, but by the self-will of the imagination; hence he drops what is disagreeable in a fact, and holds fast alone what is agreeable.” [100F-EOC: p. 137]

[P. 140] “Feeling is the dream of nature; and there is nothing more blissful, nothing more profound than dreaming. But what is dreaming? The reversing of the waking consciousness. In dreaming, … I take the spontaneous action of my own mind for an action upon me from without, my emotions for events, my conceptions and sensations for true existences apart from myself. (…) It is the same ego, the same being in dreaming as in waking; [P. 141] the only distinction is that in waking, the ego acts on itself; whereas in dreaming it is acted on by itself as by another being. (…) Feeling is a dream with the eyes open; religion the dream of waking consciousness: dreaming is the key to the mysteries of religion.” [102F-EOC: p. 140-141]

[P. 152] “All divine attributes … which make God God, are attributes of the species … . My knowledge, my will, is limited; but my limit is not the limit of another man, to say nothing of mankind; what is difficult to me is easy to another; what is impossible, inconceivable, to one age, is to the coming age conceivable and possible. My life is bound to a limited time; not so the life of humanity. The history of mankind consists of nothing else than a continuous and progressive conquest of limits, which at a given time pass for the limits of humanity, and [P. 153] therefore for absolute insurmountable limits. But the future always unveils the fact that the alleged limits of the species were only limits of individuals. The most striking proofs of this are presented by the history of philosophy and of physical science.” [105F-EOC: p. 152-153]

“Man is what he is through Nature, however much may belong to his spontaneity; for even his spontaneity has its foundation in Nature, of which his particular character is only an expression. Be thankful to Nature! Man cannot be separate from it!” [111F-EOC: p. 180]

“As the involuntary, sensual impulses which flash out from the depths of the
nature, and, in general, all those phenomena of moral and physical evil which are
inexplicable to religion, appear to it as the work of the Evil Being; so the
involuntary movements of inspiration and ecstasy appear to it as the work of the
Good Being, God, of the Holy Spirit, or of grace.” [115F-EOC: p. 187]

[Footnote:] “ … I would rather be a devil in alliance with truth, than an angel in alliance with falsehood.” [117F-EOC: p. 188]

“… when religion advances in years, and, with years, in understanding; when, within the bosom of religion, reflection on religion is awakened, and the consciousness of the identity of the divine being with the human begins to dawn, - in a word, when religion becomes theology, the originally involuntary and harmless separation of God from man becomes an intentional, excogitated separation, which has no other object than to banish again from the consciousness this identity which has already entered there.” [118F-EOC: p. 197]

[Footnote:] “The denial of a fact is not a matter of indifference; it is something morally evil, - a disowning of what is known to be true. Christianity made its articles of faith objective, i.e., undeniable, unassailable facts, thus overpowering the reason, and taking the mind prisoner by the force of external reality … .” [120F-EOC: p. 205]

“… revelation must not be regarded as outside the nature of man. There is within him an inward necessity which impels him to present moral and philosophical doctrines in the form of narratives and fables, and an equal necessity to represent that impulse as a revelation.” [122F-EOC: p. 208]

“The imagination is the original organ of religion. (…) The nature of God is the nature of the imagination unfolded, made objective.” [125F-EOC: p. 214]

[P. 239] “ … what thou experiencest in thyself of another existence, proves only that there is something in thee which thou thyself art not, [P. 240] which works upon thee independently of thy personal will and consciousness, without thy knowing what this mysterious something is.” [131F-EOC: p. 239-240]

“In general, wherever religion places itself in contradiction with reason, it places itself also in contradiction with the moral sense. Only with the sense of truth coexists the sense of the right and good. Depravity of understanding is always depravity of heart. He who deludes and cheats his understanding has not a veracious, honourable heart; sophistry corrupts the whole man.” [133F-EOC: p. 246]

“The necessary turning point of history is … the open confession, that the consciousness of God is nothing else than the consciousness of the species; that man can and should raise himself only above the limits of his individuality, and not above the laws, the positive essential conditions of his species; that there is no other essence which man can think, dream of, imagine, feel, believe in, wish for, love and adore as the absolute, than the essence of human nature itself.” [139F-EOC: p. 270]

“To place anything in God, or to derive anything from God, is nothing more than to withdraw it from the test of reason, to institute it as indubitable, unassailable, sacred, without rendering an account why. Hence self-delusion, if not wicked, insidious design, is at the root of all efforts to establish morality, right, on theology. (…)
Thus the work of self-conscious reason in relation to religion is simply to destroy an illusion: - an illusion, however, which is by no means indifferent, but which, on the contrary, is profoundly injurious in its effect on mankind … .” [141F-EOC: p. 274]

“ … only where … the distinction between the divine and human being is abolished, … is religion made a mere matter of feeling, or conversely, feeling the chief point in religion. The last refuge of theology therefore is feeling. God is renounced by the understanding; he has no longer the dignity of a real object, of a reality which imposes itself on the understanding; hence he is transferred to feeling; in feeling his existence is thought to be secure. And doubtless this is the safest refuge; for to make feeling the essence of religion is nothing else than to make feeling the essence of God. And as certainly as I exist, so certainly does my feeling exist; and as certainly as my feeling exists, so certainly does my God exist.” [145F-EOC: p. 283]

“The distinction between the “heathen,” or philosophic, and the Christian God – the non-human, or pantheistic, and the human, personal God – reduces itself only to the distinction between the understanding or reason and the heart or feelings. Reason is the self-consciousness of the species, as such; feeling is the self-consciousness of individuality; the reason has relation to existences, as things; the heart to existences, as persons. (…) Feeling only is my existence; thinking is my non-existence, the negation of my individuality, the positing of the species; reason is the annihilation of personality. (…) Reason is cold, because … it does not interest itself in man alone; but the heart is a partisan of man.” [146F-EOC: p. 285]

“Reason is the truth of Nature, the heart is the truth of man. To speak popularly, reason is the God of Nature, the heart the God of man … .” [148F-EOC: p. 285]

“It is not to Christian faith, not to Christian love (i.e., love limited by faith); no! it is to doubt of Christian faith, to the victory of religious scepticism, to free-thinkers, to heretics, that we owe tolerance, freedom of opinion. It was the heretics, persecuted by the Christian Church, who alone fought for freedom of conscience.” [171F-EOC: p. 323]

“ … Christians worship the human individual as the supreme being, as God. Not indeed consciously, for it is the unconsciousness of this fact which constitutes the illusion of the religious principle. (…) Man is the God of Christianity, Anthropology the mystery of Christian theology. The history of Christianity has had for its grand result the unveiling of this mystery – the realisation and recognition of theology as anthropology.” [175F-EOC: p. 336]
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