Saturday, June 25, 2005


Wagner held that Wotan in his Ring of the Nibelung represented humanity. This head god from Norse mythology, who in the story gives up an eye for the sake of knowledge that will help him dominate the objective world, is a tragic figure, as is modern man, who has sacrificed inner knowledge for the sake of worldly power. But it is more than that: to reflect upon the meaning of this primal act in Schopenhauer, who influenced Wagner tremendously, it is the wresting of consciousness itself from nature that is the "original sin," if you will.

If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that there is a fundamental shift taking place, and we can see Wagner as a prophet of that, as in Gotterdammerung there is a complete dissolution of Valhalla, the abode of the gods. The structures that held the whole concept of humanity in place, in this long past age from which we are emerging, are consumed in fire.

You could say that as Wednesday is Wotan's day, which ended in the twilight years of the nineteenth century, the twentieth century was Thor's day, Thursday. Thor is the god of the hammer. We saw a good bit of hammering last century and it's still going on, of course. Even as we watch in fascinated horror at the last throes of political demigods enacting their mundane power plays on the stage of the world, the day is turning from Thor's day to the love goddess Freya's. Thank god(s) it's Friday.

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