Cries, false substitutes and expressions in image, por Maria Filomena Molder

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Maria Filomena Molder é professora da Universidade Nova de Lisboa.


Cries, false substitutes and expressions in image

I would like to begin by telling you how I see Wittgenstein in relationship to philosophy. For me, philosophy is a contemplative activity that restraints itself by considering the very act of falling into oneself conceptually. In order to become a human being, no matter how old one is, no matter when one does it, all of us must fall into ourselves some day. But not all human beings make the falling into oneself their own conceptual object; no, only those who have dedicated their time to that which came to be known as philosophy. Even though falling into oneself is something that people do take in consideration in the arts (in the sciences, this is done more indirectly), it is not restricted to the concept. In arts and in poetry the concept is not only taken in consideration but it is also realized and produced, and because of this it becomes immediately subsumed in its very expression. In philosophy, this conceptual consideration is likely to become an expression as well, and therefore, as we well know, it has turned into a literary genre.


When the wise man points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger.

Buddhist proverb


I would like to begin by telling you how I see Wittgenstein in relationship to philosophy. For me, philosophy is a contemplative activity that restraints itself by considering the very act of falling into oneself conceptually.  In order to become a human being, no matter how old one is, no matter when one does it, all of us must fall into ourselves some day. But not all human beings make the falling into oneself their own conceptual object; no, only those who have dedicated their time to that which came to be known as philosophy. Even though falling into oneself is something that people do take in consideration in the arts (in the sciences, this is done more indirectly), it is not restricted to the concept. In arts and in poetry the concept is not only taken in consideration but it is also realised and produced, and because of this it becomes immediately subsumed in its very expression. In philosophy, this conceptual consideration is likely to become an expression as well, and therefore, as we well know, it has turned into a literary genre.


Wittgenstein always nurtured, despite doing so in several degrees, a critical relationship, if not a suspicious one, towards the consideration of philosophy as a literary genre, especially when it came to the transmitted and stabilised forms that such a literary genre takes on, namely, theories, systems and even, in a particular way, certain philosophical concepts and problems. In his Tractatus, Wittgenstein steers this suspiciousness of philosophy as a literary genre towards language[1].  This suspiction towards language is not exclusive to Wittgenstein, it is being shared by many of his contemporaries and countrymen, for instance, and to quote/mention only from the most remarkable, Hugo von Hofmannsthal (e.g. Ein Brief) and Karl Kraus (e.g. Sprüche). This is a time when mediation became a critical object, when what was pointed out was its deficiency, its inconceivable relationship with that to which it refers, with that to which they allow one reaching. It seems to me that this suspicion of language is related to a certain nostalgia (which would be translated, in the future, into many forms for Wittgenstein) for words not being objects and an uneasiness towards language being a mediation system.


How does he see language in this work? He sees it as a set of representative facts, propositions, which by imagetic [bildlich] projection construct a world[2]. This means that under this point of view, the fact is mute. Muteness comes from the wholly constructed character of the image [das Bild]. On the other hand, the supreme overcoming of such muteness (which becomes clear by the nonsense of the proposition, that is to say, the proposition which does not represent, for it lacks an image) leads to a form of beatitude, revealed by the transmutation of muteness, in a form of the suspension of language, by silence[3]. During his later years, from the ‘30s onwards, on the contrary, facts begin to speak, and we reach the point in which Wittgenstein asks to “do justice to the facts”. In other words, the fact is naturally self-expressive and any philosophical effort is found precisely in not annihilating it while it is able to express itself.


But let us go back to the Tractatus, in which the muteness of the fact finds a place. That which matters the most to Wittgenstein is neither a fact nor is it describable through language, because it is something out of this world in image. Not in the sense that there is another world beyond this one, but in the sense that a point of view has been altered and that that change implies an imaginative detachment from the world. What matters the most is not within the world, seen as a set of all the facts, describable by the whole set of propositions, which are but other facts – although endowed with representative power – describing that same world. What matters the most to Wittgenstein is not in the world and is not in the language that allows for the description of that world. The generating element of the proposition (more often than not identified with the proposition itself) is called, as we well know, Bild, the image, the figure or the picture.


In summary, for Wittgenstein Bilder are not able to represent anything that matters to him, thus what matters to him is not a fact, is not part of the world[4]. The only possible approach to that which does matter to him is an intimate experience, a sort of harmony which Wittgenstein calls a mystical feeling. None of this concerns language. Quite the contrary, the man who has found harmony within the world has transmuted the world of facts into “his world”, that is, a world that is not describable through propositions by imagetic projection[5]. The difference between the world and my world is gritante and problematic. To be exact, within the framework of the Tractatus there is no image that allows me to approach my world, neither will it allow me to approach my life, my intimacy, and the only access, a purely sentimental one, has no communitarian form whatsoever, at least a form that travels through language, which explains the very decisive pressure of solipsism in that text[6].


As Ingeborg Bachmann says, this is a very disturbing vision, for that which matters the most to us is out of our reach, while humans who speak and live with each other and come from other human beings, etc. These are not her exact words. She says: “there is no bitter proposition in the Tractatus than that which affirms that God does not reveal himself in the world” (reference). I think that “God does not reveal himself in the world” and “my intimate experience does not reveal itself in the world” are able to coincide, for God and my intimate experience entirely exceed the conditions for the description of the world[7]. We shall return to this point when we deal with the “Lecture on Ethics”.


In the Tractatus, Bild is a model, a paradigm for comprehension, whose chief matrix is of a double nature, both mechanical (We cannot forget that Wittgenstein studied engineering, as did Musil and Broch, among other contemporary and countrymen) and performative[8]. Let us spend some time on the latter. The lebendes Bild finds its origin in a Baroque technique, that of the “tableaux vivantes”, a theatrical expression, in which every concept (truth, justice, calamity, and so on) would be played by a character according to the precepts of the allegorical method a partir de uma matriz pictórica/as a translation of a pictorial scene (we nay recall the “tableau vivant” on Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschten). Now, we find in the lebendes Bild a trace of that dramatic action as in the Baroque “tableau vivant”. It is very telling that one finds in the Tractatus performative underpinnings, which will have decisive consequences when Wittgenstein refers to the simile of the Spiel. Truth to be said, besides its playful dimension, or better still, in connection to it, Spiel has also a theatrical value, in the oldest sense of the word, as the structure of the characters acting in relationship with one another (this is not absolutely clear in the Portuguese “jogo”, but it is nearer to the English “play”, especially in the related phrasal verb forms). Even though Wittgenstein did not develop explicitly this idea in the Tractatus, or in any other subsequent writing, I would argue that the effort (between tendency and method) of seeing in each thing a face, the effort of personification, is a long-range reverberation of such a matrix of the Bild.


In short, Wittgenstein reasons that in order to find himself with that which matters the most to him he must leave this world. At the same time I understand such a feeling as the expression of the identification between the aesthetical and the ethical plan (one and the same thing, according to Wittgenstein[9]) which means that a contemplative gaze was taken in, a gaze that implies to jump out the world, that is to say, “to see things sub specie aeterni”. Paradoxically, it was that gaze through which he approached his intimacy.

In principle, none of this would allow to reach the ethnological and morphological point of view of maturity. Both the concept of Bild as lebendes Bild, however, the intuition of “I am my life” or “I am my world”, the intuition that the aesthetic and the ethic are the same thing, predict possible changes, even if at the outset they do not allow/demonstrate them. That is, we can only say this because Wittgenstein has written many other texts in which we can recognize a change, or a rereading of some of the Tractatus’ key concepts – and its changed configuration is prone to provide us with a good foundation to introduce his mature point of view.


Whatever the case may be, the suspiciousness towards the mediations, transformed in the traditional speech of philosophy into idolised objects, deceiving concepts, illusory comprehensions (by which the relationship between propositions and the world is legitimated), lead Wittgenstein to reject the legitimacy of the similes (allegories, symbols, Gleichnisse), which becomes very clear in his “Lecture on Ethics”. Let’s see:

[…] all religious terms seem […] to be used as similes or allegorically [“God is our father”, for instance] […] But a simile must be the simile for something. And if I can describe a fact by means of a simile I must also be able to drop the simile and to describe the facts without it. Now in our case as we try to drop the simile and simply to state the facts which stand behind it, we find that there are no such facts. And so, what at first appeared to be a simile now seems to be mere nonsense.


In this text, Wittgenstein takes a simile as a fact-replacing image, a fact that which we cannot describe. Therefore, and in principle, if we dropped this image we should have the fact. But it is evident that dropping the image leaves us with no fact at all. Behind the image lies nothing, similes are false substitutes.


According to Wittgenstein, behind the simile should be a fact, God himself. By dropping the image, we would have the fact. Let us remember that according to the Tractatus doctrine (and still acting over the conference) we only recognise as fact that which is describable through another fact with a representative power, that is to say, an image in proposition. Nevertheless, behind the simile, no matter how ordinary it may be, no matter how precise its analogical ratio is, which can be analysed, there is never a fact, just a yearning for understanding (sometimes an infinite one), a tension that can never be loosened in any way. Although “God is our father” implies an analogical system, analysing its ratio will know no bounds, for it presupposes a vision whose origin lies in an affinity, that one between father and son.


In fact, we witness here powerlessness by Wittgenstein. He is powerless to understand what is at stake with religious images. Nonetheless such incomprehension will become extremely fruitful, for this resistance to the constitution of the symbol through analogy, is not only blindness but also an admonition ad se ipsum whose corollary is the overcoming of the Gleichnis, understood as the analogical structure of mediation through the bildlicher Ausdruck. In our conclusion, we shall deal with this contrast. Moreover, we can ask ourselves, are there any similes that which are not “false substitutes”? Let’s not answer that just yet.


I would like to discuss Goethe briefly here, so that I can create a path to the morphological point of view (and from there to the ethnological). Goethe is not a philosopher. He never wanted to be one: he thought he did not have the necessary organs for philosophy. He was naturally ungifted for philosophy. He had a healthy distrust, but not scorn, of philosophy, feeling at the same time a true esteem for it (cf. this and that) Goethe’s healthy distrust of philosophy is the same kind of healthy distrust that we find in Wittgenstein after the thirties. A distrust in relationship to the one-sidedness of philosophy, to the images that bewitch understanding, to the theories (which, because they ignore their own one-sidedness, are but false) that compel reality to adapt itself to them, even if it entails enormous disfigurations[10]. Goethe’s distrust is obviously favoured by his poetic gift, but it also finds a sound foundation in his activities of observation and description of natural forms, which never abated throughout the entirety of his life. The relationship between Goethe’s poetic gift and the observation and description of forms is not secondary in any way. Anyone who wishes to understand Goethe’s literary oeuvre will fail when excluding his activities as a nature observer and scholar (T.S. Eliot points picture award, at the end of his life). Which is not in any way secondary either the philosophy understood as dichten by Wittgenstein.


Goethe’s morphology is a science with no object-filled field of its own, and it does not constitute (in the Kantian sense) its own object. Texto It is a science certain that “facts are already theory”. Máxima. Behind facts there is nothing to discover (not in the Tractatus point of view), for all facts “speak to us” (Farbenlehre). They are self-expressions, and we can only find a path towards them by paying patient attention to them. No prior method whatsoever can replace such attention. To a certain extent, Wittgenstein will remember, as it were, this idea by Goethe: it is through the attention to the facts that he will attempt to find his way towards them. This is something we can perceive in §654[11] of Philosophical Investigations, I (as well as in many places of Remarks on Frazer’s ‘Golden Bough’, Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics and On Certainty, to quote). The theoretical transcendental model was put aside to know the facts[12].


In these texts, facts, that is to say, certain beliefs, rites, and uses of language are not seen as instantiations of abstract universals but rather as variations of forms of life that allow us to see those very same forms. To these variations are named by Wittgenstein games, Spiele[13]. In Remarks on Frazer’s ‘Golden Bough’ in particular, Wittgenstein shows us the simplest of ways what it means to fall into oneself (which is only possible within the framework of a form of life): one day, the man who had lived near a forest since their birth discovers precisely that. Wittgenstein calls this the awakening of intelligence, which is not a corroboration of an affinity but the finding that something that which was familiar has become strange. It is apparent that this strangeness stems from affinity, from familiarity. However, it implies a severance from it that allows a subsequent reunion at a different level. The invention of rites and myths lays precisely at this point, as well as philosophical problems. Quote Philosophical Occasions 138-139 + 128-129.


But everything becomes a little more complicated when Wittgenstein acknowledges similes besides those that which are false substitutes, similes that do not fool us, but actually “refresh the intellect”[14]. A new word is like a fresh seed thrown on the ground of the discussion, 4 + 89. One must bear in mind that all of Wittgenstein’s philosophy can be seen as exactly that: the search for these similes. “Was ich erfinde sinde neue Gleichnisse”, Philosophical Occasions, 16. The concept of “fictional concept”, 85e + 70. Still, this class of similes will also be defeated by the bildlicher Ausdruk, as we shall see.


Let us take a moment to focus on the second meaning of Gleichnis (which he also refers to, now and than, as Bild), which bears a remarkable heuristic fertility, particularly in its most emblematic case, that of the concept of Sprachespiel. The image that underlies this concept is not an ordinary image, but an image “of our choice”, of Wittgenstein’s choice, which develops itself within an atmosphere that is not liable to be limited to a simple listing of the common traits of all games or at least of the maximum number of games[15]. It is the respect of the very richness of the image that is at the foundation of the concept’s fertility that avoids the concept of Spiel from being restricted to an exercise of induction. In its turn, the generating matrix of the image is the experience of learning to speak (as seen in the first paragraphs of Philosophical Investigations). This is not by chance, for such an experience belongs to the dramatic genre[16] (whose structure we’ve already pointed out). Perhaps it is a good thing to remember at this point a sentence that Goethe wrote in a letter to Madame von Stein, just before he travelled to Italy: “the causa finalis (‘final cause’) of the world and of human action is dramatic poetry”. Data, etc. There is no evidence that Wittgenstein has ever read this letter, but its exactness seems to cast its shadow over what the philosopher wrote about the games of language, as well as over the quasi-concepts, in which perception and thought look for one another mutually. Consequently, the tendency to see in each object a face, the effort of personification, is a reverberation, that is, less an influence than a familiar community. Let us remember the concept of Bildgesicht (PI, II, XI, § 11). The simile as false substitute has dissipated itself in the simile that liberates intelligence, preserving the resistance to the rigidity and the idolatry of images (the ones responsible for so much “bewitchment”).


There are images that are born out of a more or less analysable comparison (the good images as Gleichnisse do not have any wholly analysable comparisons). For instance, the leg of a table is wholly analysable. But the presentations of God as father, of language as game, are not wholly analysable. Still, there is yet another class of images that are not based on comparison, that are not images “of our choice”, that are not Gleichnisse, ie., images acting more deeply than the ones which liberate the understanding. This is, for me, the most outstanding discovery about images by Wittgenstein. Its matrix is the inseparability of the inside and the outside (both a Goethe’s and Hamann’s subject), expunging all the rigid mediations. This matrix appears quite often as a physiognomy. Ultimately, the resistance to mediations (which, as we’ve mentioned before, turn into idols and “bewitch” our understanding) is renewed here, in the form of a vision of an intimacy between the inside and the outside, which, as we shall demonstrate, is embodied in an understanding of the relationships between body and soul, relationships unsusceptible to analysis.


In the fertile and abundant considerations that Wittgenstein proposed on the image, whose corollary is the evidence that das Bild sagt mir sich selbst (PI, I, §523 + § 207, pain and compassion), we find a variation of the scream as an expression brought about by pain, in which that particular expression contains, in principle inseparably (though we might know terrible separations), the experience of pain, the communication of pain and the acknowledgment of that communication. Cf. IX, §§ 16; I, 282 (dor e compaixão), 286, 287 (the inaccurate controversy about asking if is the body the one who feels pain), 421 (the forged paradoxes about the relationship between tangible and intangible). This implies the refusal of the causality of some immaterial, occult system, the refusal of the possibility of separation of expression in favour of sensation, as well as it implies the conviction that the expression of pain plays a heuristic and operative role, whether the response is a sedative or a compassionate gaze. Besides, I consider the scream of pain as a model (a possible model, perhaps the best one) to understand what the “sudden illumination”, “Aufleuchten” may be: it also escapes us (the terms are those of Wittgesntein), it also can be communicated and shared by us. XI §§ 9, 31 (distinction between “continuous vision” and “sudden illumination”): the cry of pain as a paradigm for the “Aufleuchten”+ V §§ 4, 5. Quoting: PI, II, XI, §§, 130 (the aspect is a physiognomy), 216-220, 238; Cf. also II, I, §§ 1,2,3; II, IX, §§ 16-19 (cry and description), I, 404-408 (1st e 3rd persons); I, §§ 302-3, 310, 317.[17] This consideration of the scream, and its transformation into an imagistic matrix of the unmediated recognition of an aspect, is still a creative consequence of the resistance to mediations.


“I believe I summed up where I stand in relation to philosophy when I said: really one should write philosophy only as one writes a poem [dichten]”, podemos ler numa das Vermischte Bemerkungen (1933-34). If we are aware that the German word dichten, which means “to do poetry”, is  related to condensation and to concentration, (procurar etimologia) we realise how this can become of the utmost importance for the understanding of the quasi-concepts of Bildgesicht or of “in my heart I understood”. We will find a variation of this dichten in PI II, XI, § 153, when Wittgenstein mentions that “aspect-blindness” is akin to the lack of a musical ear: “Aspect-blindness will be akin to the lack of a ‘musical ear’” or in PI I, § 536: “[…] The reinterpretation of a facial expression can be compared to the reinterpretation of a chord in music, when we hear it as a modulation first into this, then into that key”.


What is the condition that allows us to recognise something? An ascetic disposition to discard all the illusory images/concepts, all the obstacles to the clear our vision of that which stands before our eyes, willing to see. And it is at that point that we see something as if it was the first time. We may find its best presentation in a maxim, a verse by Goethe: “What is the most difficult of all things? That which seems the easiest: to see with one’s eyes that which is before one’s eyes”, that Wittgenstein quotes in at least three separate occasions throughout the Vermischte Bemerkungen (although he does not refer to Goethe by his name). It also resurfaces continuously in PI, even if it is in a more or less diluted form, e.g., I, §129: “The aspects of things that are the most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something – because it is always before one’s eyes) […]”. If we are willing to discard all the bewitching mediations, we can only see with our eyes what is before our eyes. This is what Wittgenstein is repeatedly affirming throughout the Vermischte Bemerkungen, the Remarks on the Golden Bough and in § 275 of Philosophical Investigations, I. “Here, where human habits are concerned, as for instance when dealing with their dead, we can only describe [he underlines this word] and say: This is what human life is like.” 1ª, §15. The “so und so” (The “So-sein”) that meant to be, in the Tractatus[18], “this or that”, included in a perspective of the “How” of things (the Wie), are now in a perspective of the Was (the What) of things: things are like this and like that. The sky is the sky, but the sky we see is blue, gray, cloudy, and so forth. The Was is expressed always as a Wie. In the “Lecture”, the most surprising aspect is not that the sky is blue or gray. It’s its very existence. Now, what demands our admiration is the particular physiognomy of each sky and this impression does not belong only to oneself. For instance, the blue one: “Look at the blue sky and say to yourself ? How blue the sky is! – When you do it spontaneously – without philosophical intentions – the idea never crosses your mind that this impression of colour belongs to you […]”


“This is what human life is like”. This is the translation or a development of the “so und so” as an ethnological principle, a principle of understanding that allows us to see that any given theory is hypothetical and that demands for any hypothesis to be discarded. That which we should do in relationship to, say, the belief in immortality or the way we deal with the dead, is to try to describe all the aspects that come across to us within those situations, and see what happens (by avoiding rushed generalizations and systematizations). As he says in PI I, § 654: “Our mistake is to look for an explanation where we ought to look at what happens as a ‘proto-phenomenon’   [Urphänomen]. That is, where we ought to have said: this language-game is played”.

PI, II, XI, 238: What has been accepted, the given is – so one could say – forms of life. 228: Something new (spontaneous, ‘specific’) is always a language-game.


We can only recognise something when we can somehow anticipate that which we are about to recognise. Or in Wittgenstein’s words: how can we have a synopsis gifted with depth? What is an evidence gifted with profundity? What can bestow the synopsis with depth? We can elaborate a synopsis, but this does not mean it’ll be gifted with depth. This is to say, we will place side by side all the aspects of a given ritual and this ritual will remain to us as a set of associated aspects deprived of depth. What bestows depth is the falling into oneself of an intimacy. Frazer, 142-143, 146+PI, I, 122. Namely, the discovery of an affinity with the ritual, that which allows the confirmation that “we are human” or that “human life is like this” in the form of a particular evidence, such as “death is majestic”. How do we reach such an evidence? We can begin by making numerous comparisons between all the majesties we know with death. But perhaps this will not take us very far, for the only thing we’ll have in the end is a number of associations. We will only discover the majesty of death if someone’s intimate experience with death or the omens of our own death appear before us in such a way that we suddenly coalesce all the aspects of the majesty of death (of the associations, of the putting side by side) and we perceive majesty in death. This is called the “Tiefe der Betrachtung”, the depth of contemplation (a particular form of Evidenz). We must not forget however that “the deep aspect of this matter readily eludes us” (PI, I, § 387)[19].


Let us concentrate finally on Philosophical Investigations, II, IV, § 7, in which the limit case of the profundity of contemplation is associated with the limit case of the theme/subject of the inseparability of the inside and the outside, that is to say, the inseparability of body and soul, in the form of how one acts out a gesture of pointing to one’s heart: “when you said it, in my heart I understood”. (There is another variation of this assertion in II, XI § 158 (figurative meaning and primitive meaning), I 589 (“In my heart I have determined on it”. Cf. also II, XI §§ 171(“The secondary meaning is not a ‘metaphorical’ sense), 178 (“Why did you look at me at that word, were you thinking of …?”, 183 (“Why did you look at me and shake your head?”, 191 (the word on the tip of my tongue), 217, 218 (to see someone writhing in pain – and be able to  understand it – and not think that his feelings are hidden from, although every human being can be an enigma for us), 225 ( the kind of certainty as a kind of language-game).

And how about an expression as: “In my heart I understood when you said that”? Pointing to one’heart. Does one, perhaps, not mean this gesture? Of course one means it. Or is one conscious/aware of using a mere image [Bild]? Indeed not. – It is not an image [Bild] that we choose, not a simile [Gleichnis], yet it is an expression in image [ein bildlicher Ausdruck]. Philosophischen Untersuchungen II, IV, §7

Do we want to say what we are saying or are we conscious that we are using but an image [Bild]? Certainly not, it is not an image of our choice. This is very important for there are images of our choice and images that are not. The images of our choice are always inclined to be those of the Tractatus’ Bilder, a model in which we can wholly analyse. On the contrary if a simile, a Gleichnis is also analysable, this analysis is very often prone to be an incomplete one. And the more complex the simile is, the less analysable it is. Nevertheless, in this particular case, we are neither before a Bild nor a Gleichnis (whether understood as a false substitute or a refreshing of the understanding). It is not, certainly, an image of our choice, and it does not stem from a comparison. Therefore, it is a bildicher Ausdruck (imageexpression/expression in image). The concept, or the quasi-concept of the bildicher Ausdruck is a Wittgenstein discovery par excellence: the discovery of an incomparable image, an unanalysable image, the coming across an evidence that allows us to see more clearly that which Wittgenstein qualifies as “the depth of our contemplation”.


The very fact that one can say “in my heart I understood” as if it was “just a simile” leads us both to “Lecture on Ethics” and several points in PI, such as II, XI, §§ 158 (the figurative employment of the word and the original one), 171[20]. The very notion that there is a proportion between one thing and the other, in such a way that they are strictly connected, does not prove that one knows one thing about proportion, for it could be an analogy or an affinity. In the sentence “in my heart I understood”, there is no analogy between the act of understanding and the heart, for there is no list of proportions here, but rather an affinity, that is, a relationship of unity, which can be translated into a feeling of intimacy. The intention is not purely formal. The heart is an attractor and a reflector of the communication between body and soul.


Vermischte Bemerkungen, 1932-1934: “The face is the soul of the body” + PI II, IV, § 6: “The human body is the best picture of the human soul” (the source is Hamann). These sentences may help us to see what is at issue in “in my heart I understood”. The body is evidently not a Gleichnis. There is no way to compare. For Wittgenstein this is the greatest problem where the image is concerned. That image is not a Gleichnis proper as “God is our father”, or as the similes that refresh the understanding, as the language-games, in order to know what activity language consists of.


The refusal of Wittgenstein to include “in my heart I understood” within the symbolic is related to the conscience that its analogical ratio is something that cannot be grasped. To be exact, what becomes more significant here is the enigma of a vision: having seen something inseparable from having felt something. We learn something more about what it means to understand and we are not able to consider the heart as an inseparable sensitive organ of our bodies. It had been pointed out because it is the seat of life, the part of our bodies that concentrates, purifies and distributes the living energy of our bodies, because it is the seat of mercy and compassion. Our gesture, to point out to our hearts, is not a mere simile.


To understand in my heart reveals how daily words can be thrust into the feeling of an initiation to life, into an emotion that shakes the whole body, that is to say, it reveals that the musicality of existence, the inexpressible, surrounds our simplest words. And this can become a supreme touching stone for wittgensteinian philosophy as dichten.

PI, I, 527: understanding a sentence is much more akin to understanding a theme in music than one may think.

546, “Words can be wrung from us, – like a cry . Words can be hard to say: such, for example, as are used to effect a renunciation, or to confess a weakness. (Words are also deeds).”

[We also find the following in Philosophical Investigations: “We cannot define God, we cannot conceptualize God. But there were people that did paint Him… Should we discard these paintings?” No. They open up an access that allows us to see that which is from a formal perspective in philosophy can become, according to Wittgenstein, a “quasi-concept”].

[1] 6.53 Die richtige Methode der philosophie wäre eingentlich diese: Nichts zu sagen, als was sich sagen lässt…

4.0031 Alle Philosophie is “Sprachkritik”. (Allerdings nicht im Sinne Mautners) […].

4.112 Der Zweck det Philosophie ist die logische Klärung der Gedanken. Die Philosophie ist keine Lehre, sondern eine Tätigkeit […].

6.54 […] Er muss die Sätze überwinden, dann sieht er die Welt richtig.

[2] 3.11 Wir benützen das sinnlich wahrnehmare Zeichen (Laut-oder Schriftzeichen, etc.) des Satzes als Projektion der möglich Sachlage. Die Projecktionsmethode ist das Denken des Satzsinnes.

4.021 Der Satz ist ein Bild der Wirklichkeit […].

4.023 […] Der Satz konstruirt eine Welt  mit Hilfe eines logischen Gerüstes […].

4.0312 Die Möglichkeit des Satzes beruht auf dem Prinzip der Vertretung von Gegenständen durch Zeichen.

[3] 6.54 Meine Sätze erläutern dadurch, dass sie der, welcher mich versteht, am Ende als unssinig erkennt, wenn er durch sie – auf ihnen – über sie hinausgestiegen ist. (Er muss sozusagen die Leiter wegwerfen, nachdem er auf ihr aufgestiegen ist).

7. Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.

[4] 2.1 Wir machen uns Bilder der Tatsachen.

2.12 Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit.

2.141 Das Bild ist eine Tatsache […]

2.1512 Es ist wie ein Masstab an die Wirklichkeit angelegt.

[5] 5.63 Ich bin meine Welt. (Der Mikrokosmos).

5. 641 […] Das Ich tritt in die Philosophie dadurch ein, dass die “Welt meine Welt ist”.

Das philosophische Ich ist nicht der Mensch, nicht der menschliche Körper, oder die menschliche Seele, von der die Psychologie handelt, sondern das Metaphysische Subjekt, die Grenze – nicht ein Teil der Welt.

5.621 Die Welt und das Leben sind Eins.

[6] 5.62 […] Was der Solipsismus nämlich meint, ist ganz rictig, nur lässt sich nicht sagen, sondern es zeigt sich […].

6.431 Wie auch beim Tod die Welt sich nicht ändert, sondern aufhört.

Cf. also 5.64.

[7] 6.432 […] Gott offenbart sich nicht in der Welt.

6.41 Der Sinn der Welt muss ausserhald ihrere liegen […].

6.45 Die Anschauung der der Wetl sub species aeterni ist ihre Anschauun als – begrenztes – Ganzes .

Das Gefühl der Welt als Begrentzes Ganzes ist das Mystische.

[8] 6.43 Die Mechanik is ein Versuch, alle wahren Sätze, die wir zur Weltbeschreibung brauchen, nach Einem Plane zu konstruiren.

4.0311Ein Name steht für ein Ding, ein anderer für ein anderes Ding und untereinander sind sie verbunden, so stellt das Ganze – wie ein lebendes Bild – den Sachverhalt vor.

[9] Es ist Klar, dass sich die Ethik nicht aussprechen lässt.

Die Ethik ist transzendental.

(Ethik und Aesthetik sind Eins).

[10] Philosophical Investigations, I, §115: A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.

Idem, §593: A main cause of philosophical disease – a one-sided diet: one nourish one’s thinking with only one kind of example.

[11]Our mistake is to look for an explanation whree we ought tomlook at what happens as a proto-phenomenon” [Urphänomenon]. That is, where we ought to have said: this language-game is played.

[12] Tractatus, 6.13 Die Logik ist Keine Lehte, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transzendental.

[13] Philosophical Investigations §7: […] We can also think of the whole process of using words in (2) as one of those games by means of which children learn their native language [Muttersprache]. I will call these games “language-games” [“Sprachspiele”] and will sometimes speak of a primitive language as a language-game […] I shall also call the whole, consisting of language and the actions into which i tis woven, the “language-game”.

Idem, § 66: Consider for example the proceedings that we call  “games” […] And the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail.

[14] “A good simile refreshes the intellect” MS 105 73 C: 1929. We may notice how near this date is of the redaction of the “Lecture on Ethics”

[15] Philosophical Investigations I, § 66: Consider for example the proceedings that we call  “games” […] and the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail.

[16] Culture and Value “The origin & the primitive game is a reaction; only from this can the more complicated forms grow. Language – I want to say – is a refinement, ‘in the beginning was the deed’ [a quotation from Goethe’s Faust: Am Anfang war der Tat], MS 119 146: 21.10.1937.

Philosophical Investigations I,§457: “”Yes; meaning something is like going up to someone”.

[17] II, IX, 16: […] a cry which cannot be called a description, which is more primitive than any description, for all that serves as as description of the inner life [des Seelenleben]

17: A cry is not a description. But there are transitions [Übergänge]. And the words “I am afraid” may approximate more, or less, to being a cry. They may come quite close to this and also be far removed from it.

XI, 31: I look at an animal and am asked:”What do you see?” I answer: “A rabbit”. – I see a landscape, suddenly a rabbit runs hast. I exclaim: “A rabbit!”.

Both things, bothe the report and the exclamation, are expressions of visual experience. But the exclamation is so in a different sense from the report: it is forced from us. – It is related to the experience as a crie is to pain.

9: And I must distinguish between ‘continuous seeing’ of an aspect and the ‘dawning’ [‘Aufleuchten’] of an aspect.

V, 4: A doctor asks:”How is he feeling” The nurse says: “He is groaning”.A reporto n hie behaviuor. But need there be any question for them whether the groaning ie really genuine, is really the expression of anything” […].

5: The concept of ‘tacit presupposition’. What we do in our language-game always rests on a tacit presupposition.

I, 303: […] Just try – in a real case – to doubt someone else’s fear or pain.

287: How am I filled with pity/compassion [Mittleid] for this man? How does it come out what the object of my pity/compassion is? Pity/compassion, one may say, is a form of conviction that someone else is in pain.

317: Misleading parallel: the expression of a pain is a cry – the expression of thought, a proposition.

II, XI, 217: If I see someone writhing in pain with evident cause I do not think: all the same, His feelings are hidden from me.

[18] 4.5 Die allgemeine Form des Satzes ist: Es verhält sich so und so.

5.552 Die Logik ist vor jeder Erfahrung dass etwas ist.

Sie ist vor dem Wie, nicht vor dem Was.

[19] I must point out Joachim Schulte’s remark, whose severity and pertinence had led me to reconsider, although not putting it aside, my interpretation about “der Tiefe der Betrachtung”.

[20] 171: The secondary sens is not a ‘metaphorical’ sense. If I say “For me the vowel e is yellow I do not mean: ‘yellow’ in a metaphorical sense, – for I could not express what I want to say in any other way than by means of the concept ‘yellow”. Translation modified.