Shapiro Consolations Critique Part 16

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

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Shapiro Consolations Critique Part 16

Post by alberich00 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:36 am

And not only Hamlet, but another of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, Othello, granted Wagner an insight into the paralyzing effect caused by too great consciousness of the egoism which is presumably at the root of all human behavior, even seemingly at the root of self-sacrificial action, which is presumed to be the antithesis of egoism:

“… he [Wagner] thinks of Othello [think here of Wotan’s despair] and Desdemona, and I remind him of the remark he once made to me – that O. killed Desdemona because he knew she must one day be unfaithful to him. He continues by saying that natural tendencies hold sway over acts of enthusiasm, and once the image had arisen in his mind, even if put there by such a despicable rogue [say, Alberich], life became impossible, everything was finished … .” [978W-{10/1/79} CD Vol. II, p. 373]

By confessing his horrific history of corruption and self-deception to Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind, and thus transmuting or distilling the essential elements of the Ring drama into musical motifs, Wotan purges his mind of the burden of conscious thought in order to restore the involuntary unconsciousness which has been lost. By imparting his unbearable thoughts to feeling, it is as if Alberich’s curse of consciousness has been obviated, as if Wotan has regained pristine, childlike innocence. In this way Wotan can figuratively give birth to his ideal hero who is freed from Wotan’s own intolerable consciousness, freed from ulterior motivation and conscious intent and egoism, who acts seemingly only upon the prompting of spontaneous instinct, Siegfried.

[P. 96] "In the end, however, by ultimately engaging in forgiveness, Bruennhilde directly confronts the dangerous sentiment that animates the curse, and refuses to let the rancor that has infected Wotan’s reign further define her actions."

[P. 97] "In the end, then, it is not Siegfried and his sword – in which both Wotan and Bruennhilde initially put their faith – who can redeem Wotan’s end – the collapse of the inflexible structure of the State – and point the way out of Wotan/Othello’s despair, but Bruennhilde who clears the way for a new generation to reap the collective benefits of knowledge and understanding, and through her forgiveness transforms the tragedy of broken promises and lost loves into a parable of latter-day justice."

[PH: If Shapiro's assumption is true, that Bruennhilde's forgiveness is key to reversing the toxic impact of Alberich's Ring Curse, and if his other assumption is true, that Alberich's hoard of knowledge is sublated into the hoard which Bruennhilde in her death bestows on mankind, and that there's therefore no going back to preconscious nature, then there would be no reason to dissolve Alberich's Ring of consciousness: it would be embraced. It's no accident that Wagner in his essay 'The Wibelungs' described the Nibelung Hoard as ascending, in the course of history, into the Holy Grail. And, as I pointed out at, Wagner captured this concept in his transformation of Alberich's Ring Motif #19ab into the first two segments of Wotan's and the gods' Valhalla Motif #20ab during the transition between "The Rhinegold" Scene One and Scene Two. As I described in my essay on Feuerbach's influence on Wagner's libretto for "Parsifal," Parsifal ultimately reconciles himself to the physical world of time, space, and causation, Erda's was, is, and will be, and therefore necessarily to man's inherent egoism which is a product of nature's coherence, which Alberich said Wotan sinned against, by no longer seeking redemption from the real world in an illusory world of the spirit, and therefore reconciles himself with Alberich's world.]

[P. 97] "7 Wagner adopted a similar personification in 'The Artwork of the Future' where he described 'speculative thought and system-building in the fields of theology and philosophy' as 'that intelligence which so arrogantly set itself apart from life' and which 'finally has no choice, in order to avoid genuine madness, but to accept unconditionally the singular force of [the life-drive]' (AF 15)."

[PH: Quotation from, Pages 341-343:]

There is no more important passage in the Ring than Wotan’s confession, to which this explosive passage acts as prelude, since Bruennhilde’s request that Wotan explain his despair prompts his confession to her. To grasp its secrets we will examine its elements in detail one at a time. Let’s begin by looking at Wotan’s conundrum: he tells Bruennhilde that he, the God, unlike the God of the human imagination who is the sole truly free spirit, autonomous even in respect of the whole cosmos, is the unfreest of men, caught in the fetters of his own law which compels him to banish, disavow, punish, and perhaps ultimately destroy those free individuals to whom he had looked for redemption from Alberich’s curse. To fully grasp the irony of his position, note Feuerbach’s remark below that the very definition of a God is someone who can make, and unmake, his own laws:

“ … just as a prince proves he is a true ruler only by his ability to make and unmake laws, so a God can only prove His divinity by His power to abolish laws, or at least to suspend them temporarily when the situation demands. The only proof that He has made the laws is that He also unmakes them. And such proof is provided by miracles.” [292F-LER: p. 241]

But Wotan’s problem lies deeper even than this. The value mankind, in the context of the Ring drama, grants the gods (of Valhalla), is that all value and all truth stem from them. Since it is the case that man invented the gods, that the gods did not create man since they are man’s invention, that means that man has predicated his life’s meaning on self-delusion. Recall Loge’s remark that the gods staked everything on Freia’s apples. This, ultimately, is the trap that Wotan has set for himself, i.e., that man has set for himself, by inventing illusory gods as the primary source of all value and knowledge. Wotan apparently has begun to grasp that his dilemma is not only self-made, but irresolvable. This thought is so unbearable that Wotan is effectively telling his daughter Bruennhilde that he dare not think this thought aloud, i.e., consciously, lest he lose his mind.

Schopenhauer, whose works Wagner apparently had not yet read at the time he penned this portion of the Ring libretto (in fact, it was completed prior to Wagner’s first known acquaintance with Schopenhauer’s works in the fall of 1854, with the exception of a few changes Wagner made in the text later which don’t affect my current argument), said that the cause of madness is the inability of the mind to consciously confront thoughts which are so destructive of all those assumptions by which we sustain our happiness and self-image, that they must be repressed and replaced by fantastical thoughts no longer in touch with reality. This extraordinary passage, which I reproduce entire below, could in fact describe religious belief as Feuerbach conceived it, a sort of collective dream or madness (Wahn), in which the objective truth which man can’t bear is repressed and a consoling illusion, which sustains man’s preferred assumption of his transcendent value, considered now to be the truth, is substituted for the objective truth:

“[Schopenhauer states that:] … the origin of madness … 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 own 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 the 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 becomes the Lethe [a stream of forgetting in Hades, an element of Greek mythology] of unbearable sufferings; it was the last resource of worried and tormented nature, i.e., of the will.” [Schopenhauer: p. 400-401]

What Schopenhauer is describing here is a process of repression of thought, of unbearable knowledge, into the unconscious, a repository where it can be securely stored without troubling the conscious mind, and its sublimation into other thoughts, influenced by feeling, which can safely reach consciousness. This seems to be precisely what Wotan is doing in making his confession to Bruennhilde, whom he describes as a part of his own self, effectively his own unconscious mind. Presumably the knowledge he imparts to her, which he tells no one in words, leaving it forever unspoken, remains unconscious for him, since he imparts it only to his unconscious mind. We can’t help being reminded of Wagner’s first metaphor for Wotan’s unconscious inspiration, by virtue of which Wotan’s (i.e., Light-Alberich’s) unremembered nightmare, Alberich’s forging of the Ring (the human mind), gave birth to Valhalla (#20a) and its gods, who slept and then dreamt Valhalla into existence, a mere waking allegory whose original source, Alberich’s Ring, remains repressed. The whole point of The Rhinegold is that it dramatizes how the gods (man’s religious belief) could be established in a safe refuge without having to acknowledge their debt to their creator, Erda (Mother Nature), the Giants (man’s instincts of self-preservation and sexual desire), or Alberich (who forged the Ring of human consciousness which made man’s invention of the gods possible).

[PH: Quotation from, Pages 391-393:]

In the following enlightening extracts Wagner describes the kind of redemption that Bruennhilde is offering Wotan and the gods. It basically consists in trading bitter consciousness of the irresolvable contradiction between what is, and what man feels ought to be, for the bliss of unconscious feeling, or music. This is achieved through a repression of unconscious thought into the unconscious, what Wagner describes as the “going-under” of the state, egoism, Judaism, and the objective spirit of scientific inquiry, and its sublimation into blissful feeling in art, and particularly the art of music which, being non-conceptual, has no involvement in science’s debate with religion over truth and falsehood:

“Science takes over the arbitrary concepts of the human brain [Wagner is referring to Kant’s apriori knowledge when he describes the concepts of the brain as arbitrary], in their totality; while, by her side, Life follows in its totality the instinctive evolution of Necessity [which Wagner in 1854 would identify with Schopenhauer’s concept of the Will-in-Nature]. Science thus bears the burden of the sins of Life [i.e. Wotan’s confession of his hoard of knowledge], and expiates them by her own self-abrogation; she ends in her direct antithesis, in the knowledge of Nature, in the recognition of the unconscious, instinctive, and therefore real, inevitable, and physical [i.e., Wotan confesses his sin against the bitter truth, and longing to redeem his consoling illusions from it, to Bruennhilde, his unconscious mind]. (…)” [418W-{9-12/49} The Artwork of the Future: PW Vol. I, p. 72-73]

And Wagner says additionally that:

“ … Intellect, with all its arrogant divorce from Life, can see at last no other refuge from actual insanity [recalling that Wotan is losing his mind when he seeks refuge through his confession to Bruennhilde], than in the unconditional acknowledgment of this only definite and visible force. And this vital force is – the Folk (das Volk) [recalling that Wagner described Elsa in “A Communication To My Friends” as the Folk, and also as Lohengrin’s unconscious mind, what Wagner means here is that the Folk is humanity’s collective unconscious, i.e., Bruennhilde]. The ‘Folk’ is the epitome of all those men who feel a common and collective Want (‘gemeinschaftliche Noth’) [i.e., Wotan’s need for redemption from science’s abhorrent truths, in religious belief or secular art].” [419W-{9-12/49} The Artwork of the Future: PW Vol. I, p. 73-75]

Siegfried’s and Bruennhilde’s art, in other words, will redeem man from the unbearable truth by taking possession of it aesthetically, to transmute the horrific history of the world (Wotan’s confession of virtually the entire plot of the Ring) into redemptive art.

[P. 100] "39 Wagner noted 'the restless inner discord of [modern man], who between "will" and "can" had created for himself a chaos of tormenting notions, driving him to war against himself, to self-laceration and bodiless abandonment to the Christian death' (OD 169)."

[PH: Quotation from, Pages 382-383:]

By 1878 Nietzsche had openly launched his epic assault upon what he regarded as the pessimistic nihilism, dangerous for a healthy culture, of Christianity and romantic art (particularly Wagner’s art), and like Feuerbach was engaged in reconstructing a historical genealogy of nihilism by tracing religion, art (in so far as art expressed sentiments grounded in what were formerly religious values), and morality, back to their origin in nature and the human body.

Wotan’s self-destructive craving for world-end, in despair at his inability to transcend the natural limits of his own nature, and the world, because he is the victim of religious self-deceit (Loge’s false promises), which has instilled in him an unnatural longing for forms of self-expression which can’t be fulfilled in real life, is the very essence of what Nietzsche described as Nihilism. According to Nietzsche the ultimate consequence of Christian thought, which despises the real world in favor of an illusory one, once modern man confronts the fact that religion’s claims and promises are an illusion, a dream, and that there is no alternative but the scientific world-view which provides no sanctuary for Christian ideals, is self-destruction and longing for world-destruction. The man whose values, even subliminally, are predicated on the old religious longing for an “other world” of redemption from this one, faces the following irresolvable existential dilemma: on the one hand, thanks to man’s advancement in knowledge, the consoling illusions of man’s transcendent value which once made life livable and meaningful can no longer be sustained, while on the other hand, the only world left to us, the objective, real world presented to us by science, is considered to be intolerable:

“This antagonism – not to esteem what we know, and not to be allowed any longer to esteem the lies we should like to tell ourselves – results in a process of dissolution.” [Nietzsche: note from 6/10/87 collected in The Will to Power: P. 10] And what is more, Nietzsche locates this destructive nihilism squarely in Wagner’s Ring: “Art and the preparation of nihilism: romanticism (the conclusion of Wagner’s Nibelungen).” [Nietzsche: note from 1885-1886 collected in The Will to Power: P. 8]

Feuerbach described this nihilistic longing for world-end as the very essence of Christianity, the consequence of its renunciation of nature and its truth:

“Faith does not limit itself by the idea of a world, a universe, a necessity. (…) Faith in the real annihilation of the world … is therefore a phenomenon belonging to the inmost essence of Christianity … .” [96F-EOC: p. 128]

And here is a typical example of Wagner’s take on man’s religious impulse to seek world-end because the real world, what “is,” will not support religious man’s notion of what “ought” to be:

“[Speaking of the existential dilemmas which beset modern man, Wagner described their source as:] The restless inner discord of this Man, who between ‘will’ [i.e., the ideal] and ‘can’ [the real] had created for himself a chaos of tormenting notions, driving him to war against himself, to self-laceration and bodiless abandonment to the Christian death … .” [497W-{50-1/51} Opera and Drama: PW Vol. II, p. 169]

This sentiment could well be applied to Wotan himself, who seeks the end of all things because he can’t reconcile his ideal with the real.

Wotan’s nihilistic self-loathing, and his bid to rid himself of all his false, futile hopes and dreams rather than try any longer to perpetuate them in the face of the horrific nature of the world, is summed up in Wagner’s following reflection on the possibility that human existence is meaningless:

“At supper he again became absorbed in reflections as to whether the sum of existence … might not in fact have an ethical purpose, as has indeed been finely surmised. ‘Or are we really just here to eat grass? It’s possible.’ “ [1110W-{12/12/81} CD Vol. II; P. 768]

[P. 101] "5 Renunciation on the Rhine?"

[P. 101-102] "There is little question that Wagner's introduction to the works of Schopenhauer in September or October of 1854 was a key turning point in his intellectual development. (1) The final significance to the 'Ring' of Schopenhauer’s philosophy as set forth in 'Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung' ('The World as Will and Representation'; 1819/1844) is a much more difficult issue to resolve. (...) At the height of his preoccupation with Schopenhauer, in May 1856, Wagner began sketching new verses as a substitute for the Feuerbach ending, introducing the jarringly extrinsic notion of a Buddhistic nirvana 'redeemed from incarnation.' (2) In a letter to Roeckel some three months later, Wagner disclaimed the Feuerbach lines as 'tendentious' and attempted to convince Roeckel that despite his best intentions for the 'Ring,' he had been 'unconsciously following a quite different, and much more profound intuition, and that, instead of a single phase in the world’s evolution, what I had glimpsed was the essence of the world itself in all its conceivable phases, and that I had therefore recognized its nothingness.' (3) But when it came time to make a public printing of the libretto in 1863, Wagner retained the original Feuerbach ending. (4) (...) In the end, Wagner scrapped both conclusions to Bruennhilde’s speech, choosing instead to include them together as dueling addenda in his published libretto of 1872 (volumes v and vi of the 'Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen'). (...) In the end, Wagner refused to signpost his philosophical intent and left it to the spectators themselves to evaluate what the 'tenor of the musical drama' communicates in light of the finished product he presented to the public at Bayreuth in 1876, the printed score of 'Goetterdaemmerung' published that same year, and the full historical and intellectual context of the work’s gestation. (9)"

[PH: See Quotation from, Pages 988-989, previously cited]

[P. 102] "In spite of Wagner’s post-hoc attempt to discover an 'unconscious' intuition at work in his poem, the entire plot design and language of the 'Ring' ... expressly follow the logic of the original Feuerbachian and Hegelian agenda that consciously informed and shaped the project in the late 1840s and early 1850s. (10) (...) ... there is an elaborate coda in which Bruennhilde returns to make historical and philosophical sense of the events that have taken place. (...) She does not exhibit the 'willessness' or the 'greatest indifference to all things' which are the hallmarks of renunciation. (11) (...) Instead, she engages in deeds ... that do not deny or relinquish the will to power but utilize it in creative new directions and in the service of a higher species consciousness. (...) But most important, she conclusively brings the compromised world of the gods to an end and accomplishes this task by taking from Wotan control over the power of fire."

[PH: It's curious that Shapiro states here that Bruennhilde "... engages in deeds ... that do not deny or relinquish the will to power but utilize it in creative new directions and in the service of a higher species consciousness." This seems to acknowledge the implication of Shapiro's seemingly adventitious admission (I mean by adventitious that he doesn't fully incorporate this into his "Ring" interpretation) that the Nibelung Hoard is sublated into Bruennhilde's hoard of knowledge, an assumption which has, expressed in somewhat different terms, been a pillar of my allegorical reading of the "Ring" for many years. Again, if this were strictly true then Bruennhilde would not feel impelled to have the Rhinedaughters dissolve Alberich's Ring in the Rhine: it would simply be embraced as an accomplished fact, an aspect of man's true nature (which of course it is, because Alberich's Ring is Wagner's symbol for man's unique evolutionary gift of symbolic consciousness, which entails man's unique power over his animal relatives and over his world).]

[P. 103] "And Bruennhilde does not hold the ring high as a symbol of the world’s unalterable corruption and tragic stasis – the curse that life is. Instead, she delivers it, and herself, to the funeral pyre in the expectation of cleansing absolution and renewal. 'Let the fire that consumes me cleanse the ring of its curse; in the floodwaters let it dissolve' (RN 350). Equally important, the release of the ring does not signal an end to her love or a rejection of it as an illusion. (...) Continuing to extol Siegfried as a hero and a husband, she longs for union with him. Indeed, her final apostrophe to Siegfried ... is full of sensual expressiveness undiminished by her encounter with the disappointments of the phenomenal world: 'Feel how the flames burn in my breast, effulgent fires seize hold of my heart: to clasp him to me … and in mightiest love to be wedded to him!' (RN 350)."

[PH: As I pointed out at, Bruennhilde's concluding paean to Siegfried as the greatest of heroes and her self-immolation in his funeral pyre, in light of his utter failure to fulfill Wotan's original hope that Siegfried redeem gods and world from Alberich's Ring Curse, and in light of Siegfried's betrayal (unwitting though it be) of the love he shared with his muse of inspiration Bruennhilde, makes no sense unless Bruennhilde sees herself as utterly and irrevocably implicated in the sin of world-renunciation that Wotan and Siegfried had committed, and which she helped to perpetuate. She has no intention of participating in a new dispensation for future generations because she doesn't want to have any part in it.]

[P. 104] "An even more compelling textual refutation of the Schopenhauerian reading is that Wotan’s resolution to step aside is ... predicated on the expectation of a succession plan: 'I now perform freely in gladness and joy [PH: #134 - so-called World-Inheritance Motif]: though once, in furious loathing, I bequeathed the world to the Nibelung’s spite, to the lordliest Waelsung I leave my heritage now' (RN 258). (...) He does not speak of forfeiting his estate and the world altogether, but bequeathing it to Siegfried as his heir and the anticipated agent of his original plan. (...) ... Wagner reinforces the authenticity of Wotan’s decision with a new 'triumphant sounding' (22) musical motif known as the World’s Inheritance [PH: #134]. (23) Wotan’s movement from a state of despair and bitter surrender of the world to Alberich, to a sense of purpose and hope about the future when he recognizes he can pass his baton on to Siegfried, can only signal an emerging optimism about the future prospects for his world, not a deepening conviction of life’s emptiness. (24)"

[PH: As one can see in my extensive discussions of this subject at, Shapiro fails here to distinguish the Wotan who hopes Siegfried's and Bruennhilde's love (Wotan's heir Siegfried's unconscious artistic inspiration by his muse Bruennhilde) can redeem gods and world without having to restore Alberich's Ring to the Rhinedaughters, in S.3.3, and the deeply depressed and nihilistically self-destructive Wotan, as described by Waltraute in T.1.3.B, who whispers of his last-ditch hope that Bruennhilde will take the weight of Alberich's Ring Curse off of gods and world by restoring it to the Rhinedaughters, who will dissolve it and its curse in the Rhine. It's in this latter case that Wotan, having seen how Alberich's Ring Curse destroyed the love his heirs shared, and his hope of living on redeemed through his heirs, acknowledges the world's meaninglessness. But, as I also pointed out at, this isn't a tribute to Schopenhauer but instead to Wagner's own doubts that Feuerbach's scientific and materialist world affirmation could satisfy man's longing for meaning and value, doubts which preceded his first known acquaintance with Schopenhauer.]

[PH: Quotation from, Pages 558-559:]

Though I feel certain that Fafner’s role as guardian of Alberich’s Hoard, Tarnhelm, and Ring owes something to this reading, what I regard as a far more comprehensive and accurate reading is offered by Feuerbach’s critique of the inherent conservatism of religious man and traditional societies. Clearly, both the secular artist (Siegfried), and the cynical exponent of the objective scientific world-view which renounces all concern for the religious impulse to posit transcendent human value (represented later by Alberich’s son Hagen), having emancipated themselves from their former service to religious faith and its taboos on freedom of expression and intellectual inquiry, constitute a threat to Fafner’s (fearful faith’s) continued domination of human thought:

“ … precisely because man made sacraments of the first medicines, of the first elements of human civilization and well-being, religion always became, in the course of development, the antithesis of true civilization, an obstacle to progress; for it opposed every innovation, every change in the old traditional ways.” [279F-LER: p. 211-212]

And Feuerbach said that for the sake of the progress of the human spirit, it was necessary for revolutionary minds (such as Siegfried’s, for instance) to uproot such conservatism, as Siegfried will do when he kills Fafner, the fear of the truth which keeps religious man rooted to the spot and unable to accept change:

“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 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]


(...) And note: Feuerbach adds that the elimination of the contradiction between the illusions which sustain human life, and truth (say, by Hagen, or Siegfried), will bring about man’s rebirth, a new religion. For Feuerbach, this new religion comprises natural science, secular art, and society predicated on the understanding that man creates his own values, that they are not immutable norms revealed to mortal men by divine beings. For Wagner, however, the new religion is his music-drama, which has no place for natural science.

[PH: See Quotation from, Pages 687-688, previously cited]

[P. 104-105] "As the stage directions make clear, 'From the ruins of the fallen hall, the men and women watch moved to the very depths of their being, as the glow from the fire grows in the sky' (RN 351). (25) Humanity has not been effaced, but survives to observe the historic moment – the return of the ring and the passing of the gods. This is manifestly not the end of the world, then, but simply the end of a stage of world history. (...) Wagner thus concludes with a tableau vivant that silently evokes the principle image and key concept of his Feuerbach ending – that a world dramatically altered by Bruennhilde is to be inherited by those who remain behind. (26)"

[PH: At I proposed that the Gibichungs who view, moved to the depths of their being, the gods in Valhalla burning in the fire of their artistic self-deception, are Wagner's metaphor for his own audience, not least because Siegfried's singing the story of his heroic life, and how he learned the meaning of birdsong (i.e., how Wagner became a revolutionary music-dramatist and heir to dying religious faith in the modern, secular age of science), before his audience of Gibichungs in T.3.2, is Wagner's metaphor for a performance of his own "Ring."]

[P. 105] "... whatever one thinks of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics, one need not accept his own prescription for redemption, namely that denial of the will is the only way to true enlightenment. (...) Wagner himself was deeply ambivalent about Schopenhauer’s message of renunciation and never completely gave up his earlier faith in the key tenets of Young German sensualism. (...) Schopenhauer’s theory of the will, on the other hand, resonated strongly with the Christian belief in man’s inherent sinfulness, (30) and renunciation in his philosophical program required sexual abstinence. (31) Instead of embracing this ascetic demand, Wagner did intellectual backflips – expressed most notably in his famous letter from Venice to Mathilde Wesendonk in December 1858 – to try to show how “sexual love” really achieved the prescribed quelling of the will rather than the proscribed kindling of it. (32)"

[PH: See Quotation from, Page 723-725, previously cited]
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