Wisdom of Life

Richard Wagner: Music & Art — The Meaning of Life

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”

“Music is the living God in our bosoms.”

“The purpose of art is to make the unconscious conscious.”

I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; – I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; – I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men; – I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art, is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her; – I believe that through Art all men are saved.

Only the strong know love; only love can fathom beauty; only beauty can fashion art. The weak ones can only love in order to satisfy of their lustful desires.

The oldest, truest, most beautiful organ of music, the origin to which alone our music owes its being, is the human voice. Music is the inarticulate speech of the heart, which cannot be compressed into words, because it is infinite. The essence of higher instrumental music lays herein that one is able to express in tones that what one is unable to say in words.

What Music expresses is eternal, infinite, and ideal; she expresses not the passion, love, desire, of this or that individual in this or that condition, but Passion, Love, Desire itself, and in such infinitely varied phases as lie in her unique possession and are foreign and unknown to any other tongue…So…Here’s to Victory, gained by our higher sense over the worthlessness of the vulgar! To Love, which crowns our courage…To the day, to the night!…And three cheers for Music.

The sounds proceeding from the instruments of symphonic music seem to be the very organs of the mysteries of creation; for they reveal, as it were, the primal stirrings of creation which brought order out of chaos long before the human heart was there to behold them.

One might say that where religion becomes artificial, it is reserved for art to save the spirit of religion. Music truly has to all other arts the same relation as religion to the church.

I hate this fast growing tendency to chain men to machines in big factories and deprive them of all joy in their efforts – the plan will lead to cheap men and cheap products. Many’s the man who thought himself wise, but what he needed he did not know.

From its first faint glimmerings, history shews Man’s constant progress as a beast of prey. As such he conquers every land, subdues the fruit-fed races, founds mighty realms by subjugating other subjugators, forms states and sets up civilisations, to enjoy his prey at rest.

Who could look all his life long with an open mind and a free heart, at this world of murder and theft, organised and legalised through lying, deception, and hypocrisy, without having to turn away, shuddering in disgust? Whence then would one avert one’s gaze? All too often into the vale of death. To him, however, who is otherwise called and singled out by destiny, there appears the truest reflection of the world itself, as the foretold exhortation of redemption, despatched by its [the world’s] innermost soul.

My destiny is solitude, and my life is work. I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired. One supreme fact which I have discovered is that it is not willpower, but fantasy and imagination that creates. Imagination is the creative force. Imagination creates reality.

Plant life instead of animal food is the keystone of regeneration. Jesus used bread instead of flesh and wine in place of blood at the Lord’s Supper.

These revelations expressed through Art work upon the soul with a force carrying its own conviction and permeate our sentient life with a sense of truth which logic and mere reason are powerless to combat.

“We must learn to die, and to die in the fullest sense of the word. The fear of the end is the source of all lovelessness.”

“I know absolutely nothing about music.”


~Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works.

Quotes of Richard Wagner

©Excellence Reporter 2021

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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