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Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:35 pm
by alberich00

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

In April of 2017 I posted the following appeal to you, my fellow Wagnerians, for financial aid, due to wholly unexpected and large medical and car repair bills which almost entirely wiped out my liquid savings:

"I’ve never attempted to make a crowdfunding appeal before, but now I’m forced to reach out for donations to you, my fellow Wagnerians, who respect or admire my achievement in authoring the only fully comprehensive and conceptually coherent study of Wagner’s "Ring," and making it available for free here at, because I’ve recently fallen, through no fault of my own, into financial straits. Due to a combination of long-term sacrifices made over the 38 years it took me to complete my first edition of my study of Wagner’s "Ring" (1971-2009), and to recent wholly unexpected medical and car repair bills, I’m now at risk of going into the red and having to take out my social security prematurely (prior to winter of 2019), with penalties, or having to withdraw money (again with penalties) from modest investments upon which I draw a miniscule monthly income of approximately $800. Being penalized would mean that my extremely small prospective fixed annual income in the future would be cut even further. Including my Maryland State Pension of $300 per month (based on 12 years of service), I’ve been living on around 12-13k per year since my mother passed away in January of 2014, and have only been able to survive thanks to paying a nominal rent of 6k annually for a room in the home of my companion Dotti, which leaves me somewhat less than 7k per year for all other expenses, until my social security kicks in in 2019.

Because I haven’t been able to afford health insurance since I last worked for the State of Maryland in 1994 (all medical bills are therefore out-of-pocket), I’d hoped that by virtue of exercise, good eating habits, good health maintenance habits, refraining from drugs, alcohol, and smoking, and having minimal expenses and living modestly, I could hold onto my liquid savings until I can withdraw my social security (which, it’s hoped, will double my monthly income) in winter of 2019. But to my dismay, I developed double vision unexpectedly in early spring of 2017. My eye doctor, having found more than one nerve implicated in my problem, feared I might be suffering from a brain tumor, and arranged for me to have an mri at our local Emergency Room. In the event, it turned out my brain is fine: I’ve dodged a potentially fatal bullet (to put this in context, I'm now 64, my father died of an aneurysm at age 59, and my older brother died of an embolism at age 62). However, though I’d managed up till now to hang on to about 9k in liquid savings for emergencies and car repairs, my doctor’s bill, ER bill, mri bill, and associated medical bills left me only about 2k in liquid savings. Since I'm currently forced to spend more money per year for basic expenses than my small fixed income provides (I'd been supplementing it with my savings, which are now depleted), any further bills of significance prior to the winter of 2019 will plunge me into the red, with disastrous consequences. My only personal means of transportation, a 1987 Nissan pickup truck, is over 20 years old and will soon require new break pads, and not long after must be replaced with a new car or truck. So there it is, my friends!

Since I’ve literally no private resources the only thing I can offer you, my sympathetic donor, is my eternal thanks and, unless you wish to remain anonymous, a place of honor either in the acknowledgments section of my prospective book on Wagner’s "Ring," "The Wound That Will Never Heal" (assuming it’s published), or, if it isn’t published, in the acknowledgments section of my online "Ring" book posted here at I’ve just completed my third and final revision of my online "Ring" book, including a new and improved motif list, but since I still must transfer these handwritten corrections into the computer file version of my book, expect to complete my final revision by sometime early in 2018, perhaps in January, and then to submit it to publishers. That done, I will set to work to complete Volume II of my book, which will demonstrate the conceptual coherence of Wagner’s other canonical operas and music-dramas with my allegorical interpretation of Wagner’s "Ring." These interpretations are complete: I simply have to work up my notes into intelligible prose."

The situation since I wrote that appeal in April of 2017 has now changed. Though three wonderful personal friends gave me a total of $1,700.00 (increasing my liquid savings account to a total of 3.7k) to help keep me out of debt and to help me avoid having either to withdraw capital upon which my small fixed income is based, or to start drawing social security payments prematurely, in spite of my crowdfunding appeal I only received two donations in 2017 totaling $48 from Wagnerians to through paypal (for which I'm deeply grateful, needless to say). This is something of a shock because in all the years has been online with a paypal account, I've received each year, on average, about $250 - $275. So, in spite of my three friends' generosity, I was nonetheless forced to start withdrawing my social security 14 months prematurely, in order to be able to pay for medicare parts B (part A is free, having been paid for by a lifetime of medicare taxes) and D, and for a medigap supplemental plan which pays the 20 percent of medical costs which the other parts of medicare don't cover. Since my future annual income will be just under 28k, and my annual medicare premiums will be approximately $4,200.00, I'll have approximately 23.5k per year for all other living expenses from now on, which means that (though I'm extremely grateful that I have just enough income to afford full medicare coverage, and still scrape by) my liquid savings are still dangerously low, and all new savings for several years will have to be dedicated to replacing my 20 plus year old nissan pickup truck. For these reasons my crowdfunding appeal still stands and any financial aid you can offer would be most appreciated.

The medical condition which has caused my persistent double vision, drooping eyelid (right eye), and loss of about 1/4 of my upper body strength is still undiagnosed, but my eye doctor referred me to a neurologist (I saw him on 1/17/2018), who referred me in turn to a diagnostic center for blood-work to test for Myasthenia Gravis and Thyroid Eye Disease, and to another diagnostic center for two new mri's, one of my brain, the other of my eye orbits, the cost of which hopefully my new medicare plans will cover. I'm prompted to speed my final revision of my book, and ultimately volume two, to potential publishers even more by uncertainty whether or not this mysterious medical condition might worsen. My new neurologist believes he'll be able to offer me a diagnosis by late February of 2018, and hopefully a plan for treatment.

Since I've offered the gift of my life's research into the underlying conceptual and dramatic unity of Wagner's work free for the benefit of all those who wish to explore the depths and breadth of Wagner's art, and sacrificed about 13 years of what would otherwise have been compensated employment in order to concentrate fully on demonstrating this conceptual and dramatic unity, I would be most grateful for any financial help you can provide, so I won't live my remaining years in perpetual financial worry. I will be forwarding proposals re my newly completed third and final revision of my "Ring" book to publishers early in 2018, and if my book is published I hope that through a combination of royalties and paid lectures I can supplement my small income, but a scholarly book of the type I've written is considered a big success in the publishing world if 5,000 copies are sold, so I don't expect a significant addition to my annual income from royalties (unless, by some amusing fluke of world-history, my book becomes a cult classic: what a lovely fantasy!), and paid lectures will presumably be few and far between.

What follows is the rest of my original crowdfunding appeal posted in April of 2017, with a single addition which reflects the current scholarly status of my book vis-a-vis rival interpretations of Wagner's "Ring":

"In the interests of full disclosure, and by way of justifying my appeal for financial aid, I’m providing below an explanation of what I take to be the key general contributions of my online "Ring" book to Wagner studies (there are hundreds of specific, original insights), and a detailed account of how the sacrifices I made in order to disclose many of the Ring’s deepest secrets impacted my current financial crisis:

1. My "Ring" book is the first truly comprehensive conceptual interpretation of the entire "Ring" libretto, which demonstrates its conceptual and dramatic unity. Unlike all rivals in "Ring" interpretation, I've neither omitted portions of the text I couldn't fit within my interpretation, nor cherry-picked only those which I could incorporate within it, but set myself the far more difficult task of interpreting it as a whole, in its entirety, in fine detail, and only proposing an interpretation which makes sense of it in its entirety. It was only thanks to this thorough method that I was able to discern the Ring's previously hidden allegorical logic, which links it with Wagner's other canonical operas and music-dramas. Sir Roger Scruton, though expressing some doubts about my allegorical approach to interpretation in his recent book "The Ring of Truth" (Penguin/Allen Lane 2016), stated in it that my allegorical interpretation is "more plausible" than that of George Bernard Shaw, whose interpretation of the "Ring" has consistently been the most popular and influential (See my six-part response to Scruton's three critiques in the discussion forum).

2. My "Ring" book is the only interpretation which thoroughly assesses the relationship of Wagner's musical motifs to the meaning of his entire libretto, scene by scene in fine detail, and is predicated on the most complete motif list in the literature, based originally on that of Deryck Cooke, but enhanced with improvements by both Dr. Allen Dunning and Sir Roger Scruton. I've revised Dr. Dunning's original list of 177 motifs, eliminating 4-5 from his list, and adding 16-17 new motifs, bringing the total number up to either 193 or 194 (I'm still debating whether one motif in particular is worthy of numbered status). For this reason I've had to make extensive revisions in the passages from Wagner's libretto I've employed in my book, as well as extensive revisions in my commentary on it not only to accommodate these newly added motifs, but because I've also somewhat revised the chronological order of first occurrence of these 193-194 motifs, and therefore revised their numbering. I'm extremely happy to announce that Dr. Dunning has recently agreed to produce the musical notation and mp3 files for my revised list (which will be integrated into my prospective hardcopy published book), so I'll eventually be able to update the list at

3. My "Ring" book contains by far the most complete assessment of the significance of Wagner's writings and recorded remarks for our understanding of the allegorical logic of his "Ring" and Wagner's other canonical operas and music-dramas, quoting from approximately 800 passages from those documents.

4. My "Ring" book is by far the most thorough treatment of the influence of Ludwig Feuerbach on Wagner in authoring and composing his "Ring," quoting from approximately 350 passages from the four Feuerbach books known to have influenced Wagner. Barry Millington has recently drawn attention to this particular virtue of my study (see Millington's initial thoughts about my "Ring" interpretation in the discussion forum.)

5. My "Ring" book provides an unprecedented entre into the allegorical logic of Wagner's other canonical operas and music-dramas, which can now be understood to have an almost systematic conceptual relationship to the "Ring," which can be construed as their master-myth, or master blueprint. This is something which has always been implicit in Wagner's tendency to hint at deep underlying relationships between the characters of his distinct operas and music-dramas. Volume Two of my "The Wound That Will Never Heal" will be devoted to exploring these conceptual/allegorical interrelations between Wagner's canonical operas and music-dramas.

6. My "Ring" interpretation is by far the most fully vetted in light of the documentary evidence, but is at the same time the most original interpretation yet proposed. The fact that something almost entirely new can be said about the overall meaning of the "Ring" and applied in such surprising detail to understanding each of its scenes musico-dramatically, which at the same time is thoroughly well-vetted from the documentary evidence, is what gives my study its unusual force.

7. My "Ring" interpretation is not self-evident (had it been it would have been discerned long ago by others) because, like the Ring's music, it operates subliminally, unconsciously, and therefore I had to unearth it through a deep reading of, and cross-referencing between, all the documentary evidence. It was only by virtue of an unprecedentedly deep and far-reaching reading of Wagner's employment of musical motifs in relation to his libretto that the Ring's conceptual superstructure came to light, and I was able to explicate it. My interpretation has been fully corroborated by the other documentary evidence from Wagner's writings and recorded remarks, and Ludwig Feuerbach's writings."

NOTE: I've added the following contribution to my original list of 7:

8. One of the achievements of my original study of Wagner's "Ring," of which I'm most proud, is that I've restored Siegfried to his proper position of prominence within the "Ring" allegory, in contrast with many other scholars in recent years (especially Dr. Philip Kitcher and Dr. Richard Schacht in their 1994 book "Finding an Ending," but also to an extent Sir Roger Scruton in his "The Ring of Truth") who have demoted Siegfried, suggesting (incorrectly) that Wagner lost interest in Siegfried half way through composing the Ring's music because Wagner had lost faith in his social revolutionary hero. They also were incorrect in their assertion that Siegfried's relationship with Bruennhilde can be grasped as a fairly conventional romantic (if heroic) relationship. Siegfried is neither a social revolutionary nor a conventional romantic lover. Wagner reserved the role of social revolutionary for Siegfried's father Siegmund, and it's Wotan who expresses Wagner's loss of faith in social revolution by condemning Siegmund to death.

Wagner, having retreated from faith in social revolution, turned inward towards his own art, his own redemptive music, i.e., towards his own unconscious artistic inspiration, dramatized in the "Ring" by Wotan's confession of the unspoken secret of his divine "Noth" (anguish) to his daughter Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind, the womb of his wishes, in whom he repressed his unbearable thoughts (god the father's word), giving birth metaphysically to his son and heir, the artist-hero redeemer Siegfried, for whom Bruennhilde will be his muse of unconscious artistic inspiration. No attempt to interpret Siegfried as a social revolutionary or conventional lover will achieve anything except Siegfried's demotion from his exalted position as the greatest of heroes, as his lover and muse Bruennhilde describes him even in the finale of the "Ring." Only an allegorical interpretation can redeem Siegfried from this fate. Furthermore, as I've explained in my "Ring" book (Volume One of "The Wound That Will Never Heal") posted here at, and as I will explain in greater detail in my prospective Volume Two, Wagner resurrected his hero, who doesn't know who he is, in Tristan, Walther, and Parsifal, i.e., in his three remaining music-dramas. Had he lost interest in Siegfried midway through composing the Ring's music he wouldn't have replicated him in variant forms in his subsequent music-dramas (see my recent posting of my appeal to Barry Millington in the discussion forum for a brief explanation of this argument).

"For those who desire a more detailed account of how my employment/salary history relates to the years I worked out my interpretation of Wagner’s "Ring" and his other canonical operas and music-dramas, you’ll find below the complete chronological record of my earnings by year, drawn from my annual social security statements. It’s important to understand that most of the gaps in my employment, some of which were voluntary leaves of absence, and some of which were caused by economic recessions and consequent state government employment downsizing, were devoted to working 50-60 hours per week uncompensated on my Wagner project, and that even my employment choices were a direct consequence of my need to avoid more highly responsible and more well compensated work which would have required more than the usual 40 hours, since I needed evenings and weekends to work on my Wagner project.

From 2009 until 2011 I couldn't find employment (even with my former employer, the State of Maryland) due to the recession and perhaps age discrimination, and from the first fourth of 2012 until 2014 I couldn’t undertake paid employment because I was taking care of my elderly mother in our home until her passing on 1/14/2014. I also lost the better part of one year of employment due to a lung operation in 1978. Since moving to Florida in 7/2014 I've devoted myself full time to my Wagner project and, completing several revisions of my online "Ring" book and making extensive contributions to my discussion forum, a much wiser choice than throwing my best working hours away on a full-time minimum wage job, which is the only sort of work which most people my age can generally obtain, if they're lucky enough to obtain employment. I've never been compensated for authoring my book, but probably lost at least 200k+ in income during the 13 years I went partially or completely without paid employment to work on my "Ring" book full-time without compensation. My primary employment included a stint as a night-time security guard at a wildlife preserve from 1976 until 1977 (where I contracted fungus, whooping cough, persistent walking pneumonia, and dormant Tuberculosis from bad water in the cistern, culminating in the excission of the right lobe of my lung), work under a CETA grant at a Public Library from 1979 until 1981, work as a Juvenile Probation Officer for the State of Maryland Department of Juvenile Services from 1982 until 1994 (with a leave of absence to work on my book from 1990-1991), work as an Executive Recruiter for a financial services headhunting firm from 1997-2001, and work as a night-time security guard for an agency from 2004 until 2008:

1971 $832
1972 0
1973 $452
1974 $148
1975 $77
1976 $1,650
1977 $2,213
1978 0
1979 $3,519
1980 $6,704
1981 $7,388
1982 $9,948
1983 $13,653
1984 $15,866
1985 $18,218
1986 $21,709
1987 $23,488
1988 $27,610
1989 $29,110
1990 $2,299
1991 $287
1992 $31,578
1993 $31,238
1994 $29,530
1995 0
1996 0
1997 $20,888
1998 $36,860
1999 $45,303
2000 $38,705
2001 $21.912
2002 0
2003 $200
2004 $9,007
2005 $13,345
2006 $5,291
2007 0
2008 $8,472
2009 0
2010 $100
2011 $2,804
2012 $2,710
2013 0
2014 0
2015 0
2016 0
2017 0

I thank you for sympathetically considering the history of my Wagner project, and thank you in advance for any financial aid you can offer. If you believe that I've made an important contribution to our knowledge of Wagner at, please consider offering me a donation, on the understanding that it was in the very nature of the case that I couldn't obtain compensation for my research project in all the years I sacrificed to it, but instead lost income I would otherwise have gained. I would also appreciate it if, once my "Ring" book is published, anyone who benefitted from would buy my published book so I can compensate myself for all the years devoted to working out my interpretation without compensation. For smaller donations there is a paypal link in the lower left-hand corner of the homepage of For larger donations (on the off-chance that such a miraculous event could transpire), which would have tax implications, you can contact me, Paul Brian Heise, at


Posted: Mon May 29, 2017 10:22 am
by alberich00


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by alberich00