In an essay publicising his new book, the rightwing philosopher has some disturbing thoughts to about the Ring. Blithely dismissing Wagner’s powerful racism and its influence on Nazism, Scruton continues to regard the Ring as a model for our times, perhaps as a model for the death of democracy.
That is why the Ring Cycle is of ever-increasing importance to music-lovers in our times. Its theme is the death of the gods, and what the gods have bequeathed to us, namely, the knowledge of, and longing for, the sacred. Until we recognise sacred moments, Wagner implies in this monumental work, we cannot live fully as free beings. These moments are the foundation of all our attempts to endow human life with significance. Despite the controversies that have surrounded this great work—its vast length, its dubious later associations with Nazi thought—it constantly grows on the collective imagination. It is not the answer to life in a post-religious world, but it asks the real questions, and shows us one fruitful way of confronting them.
Read the full essay here.
And furthermore: So Wagner has a reply to Feuerbach, and to Feuerbach’s other great disciple, Karl Marx, namely: stop looking to politics for your salvation…