a Stephen Hawking conundrum and "The Rhinegold"

General Discussion about Wagner and The Ring of the Nibelung

Moderators: alberich00, Justin Jeffrey

Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:03 am

a Stephen Hawking conundrum and "The Rhinegold"

Post by alberich00 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:07 pm

Dear members of (and visitors to) our discussion forum:

After many delays, I'm about to start posting my thoughts on Paul Dawson-Bolling's 2013 book "The Wagner Experience," but after my recent post about the Stephen Hawking bio and his special love for Wagner, I couldn't help wondering what Hawking thinks about Wagner's own metaphorical representation of the creation in the Prelude to "The Rhinegold." In my online book on the "Ring" I posited that Wagner may well have been trying to represent (among other things) Feuerbach's thesis that there can be no beginning or end to the cosmos, and also that life began in water.

I have no expertise in physics per se, much less higher-end physics and math and cosmology of the type for which Hawking has become famous, but nonetheless in my unschooled reading of some of Hawking's own writings for the general public, and things written about his hypotheses, I have the impression that he's gone back and forth re the question whether there was some sort of unitary creation of everything from nothing, or rather, an eternal universe which merely changes from one phase to another through potentially discernible processes.

Once I get down to cases with my re-write of my online book on the "Ring," I'll post some questions about this conundrum in greater detail.
In any case, I'm not sure whether Hawking believes he can explain why there is something instead of nothing, which leads to a further question about human identity which I think is related to the first question: why am I who I am, and not somebody else? In a sense the question is absurd, because the "I" who is asking it is pre-established as me and not somebody else, but nonetheless it is curious to recall that whatever we think of, or experience of, the world, it is our perception and conception, ultimately. Siegfried, of course, doesn't know who he is, and humanity isn't quite sure who it is, i.e., how we happen to exist, and think about the question how and why we exist and think. And of course in "Tristan," there is a quest to escape identity, which, however, Isolde trumps by reminding Tristan that there is a little problem called "and" [und].

Your friend from Wagnerheim,

Paul alias alberich00
Post Reply