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Jung has said "The I Ching is never wrong,"  though I don't remember what form of the title of the work he used.  Bertrand Russell now, leaning from a mast in our tower docking area, has this to say in his introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus:

"The totality resulting from our hierarchy would be not merely logically inexpressible, but a fiction, a mere delusion, and in this way the supposed sphere of the mystical would be abolished."

Russell was uncomfortable with allowing the idea that Wittgenstein's "mystical" could not be expressed in words, and certainly not with logical propositions.  Russell appears to think that anything at all, whether or not it was "nonsense" logically, would be better than just "nothing."  Surely there must be a philosophy made for the "general case?"  Aristotle would have liked Wittgenstein.  A is A.  Amen.  According to W. the I Ching can never be right about anything.  W'd pick Ray Johnson, perhaps, as the best philosopher of the 20th century, and we would too, if we were willing to see what was shown.  I wonder if Johnson ever made a Russell or Wittgenstein bunny?

All bad philosophy, and for Wittgenstein any written philosophy is bad, is just a problem in grammar.  The philosopher's real job is to show the error in the words.  Then he's done.  All written words produce a meaning that is flawed because it is locked within a linguistic hierarchy that is finite and flawed.  If we had a vantage point outside of the system we might be able to do a proper analysis, but we don't.

However there is a huge paradox involved in this, and I suspect that this is why W. abandoned the Tractatus, and was later to focus on smaller, carefully defined word-games:  the Tractatus itself being a written expression must be flawed in its meaning, its logic, its truth. That's why, when you understand it, it vanishes, troubling you no more.  It's lesson is how to de-construct philosophy, not how to make it.

So take it or leave it,  the proof is beyond us. 

Despite all of this, I think Wittgenstein, while totally destroying philosophy, has said important things about naming, about things in their basic parts and in their relations to other things.  He has pointed out that we handle these things poorly. This suggests to me that they cause much suffering-- all because we assume meanings that do not follow directly from the intentions of words-- and that we are trapped into meaning things that cause us to kill and be killed. This might all be traced to "bad grammar" in the Wittgensteinian sense.  We should really try to get a grip on this Babel which exists at an even deeper level than confusion through a multitude of tongues.

Cydonia photo: ESA

This is the journal of David Ross
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