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The Ladder Disappears...

Digesting Wittgenstein and applying it or not applying it to the speech of Sarah Palin.  Or, the "I am that I am" candidate.

Wittgenstein in his Tractatus says many things that may often be misappropriated into other things. As the bible is often used, so can the isolated items in his text fuel the imagination and serve as points of departure for agendas of desire that are no part of his intent.  This can happen because logic is the background of his work. It is what cannot be described, but what is natural, what is given. As humans we are constantly attaching some purpose, need, hierarchy to logic that should not be there. His goal for philosophy is that it should identify its own limits, that it must indicate where we go astray. Further, that we must wean ourselves from attempting to say what cannot logically be said. 

Ironically, in his quest to relieve us of the burden of conflating logic with a hierarchy of made-up philosophical propositions-- he uses a list of made-up philosophical propositions.  Thus, once one has read through the material, he is told that the propositions are merely  the ladder to reach a higher awareness, and now they can be seen as false, and made to vanish.  Your classic sky hook!

Wittgenstein wants us to question whether a thought, statement, or question should be valid, should be engaged in at all, should be pursued.   The real is real and there is nothing to ask about it.  Like, for instance: is it really real?  After all, what good is meaningless talk about things that cannot logically be  valid?  In such a world, I wonder though of what use poetry could be?

Whether fiction is real or not, logical or not, I think writers can gain something from his words. A grip on knowing what is real or not real within a specific context of a work of art?  I also agree with something he said somewhere that  the myriad things of the world individually are not mysterious, it is the very existence of anything at all that is mysterious.

I used to say for fun: If you are not confused, you are not paying attention.  I suppose that, moving on to politics, the gap between the reality of things that "merely are" and the things that are said to be important in the political arena is about as large a gap as might be contained in a human mind without forcing a psychotic break.  Politicians new to the lofty heights of  "poli-speak" like Palin-- she is probably the text-book case-- will speak in a confusion of overlapping contexts. This is her reality, and perhaps it reveals her honesty more than an intellectual disability that she speaks that way.

Palin-speak thus disappears.  I am glad she was able to make enough of her views known, honestly, that America made an informed decision.  Next time around I doubt that the rawness will stll be there.  She will be much better packaged, and handled like Bush has been. There have been many notable language melt-downs with Bush on occasions where he has been left to his own devices. But the formula of  "speech writers + figureheads" creates a "professional" image that says more about the image-maker's professionalism than the product-candidate it cloaks.

So I guess I would actually like to see more candidates that have not been "airbrushed" by an advertising firm, sanitized, silenced, or made sweet-smelling to the public.  Or else, in some a future dystopia, why have a living candidate at all? Let ad agencies vie for the presidency. The winner just sets up a life-size cardboard  image in the oval office for the next four years to use in all picture opportunities, and sometimes with products that the government endorses to reduce the tax burden.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
And of course Wittgenstein later repudiated his opinions in the Tractatus and offered the notion that language expresses "forms of life," and that one can't run up against the limits of language because language is not a cage. But.

When language doesn't even remotely express a content that is interpretable by others, versus language that contains more than it seems to contain for the casual observer because it is expressed in a vocabulary associated with a particular ideology....

I haven't signed in but it's obvious who wrote this...the other JC, or the other other JC, depending on your starting point.
Nov. 21st, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
I assume that only Herr Kleinwitz would engage in such discourse? However, I am often wrong about the most simple things. Especially when deciding where to begin and end a circular argument.

Yes, I think it is very interesting that how much a reader gets out of a set of words depends on the reader's personal sense of language and the reader's personal erudition, leading possibly beyond the author's intent, or falling far short of it. What is fun, is to find that a writer's depth has grown deeper on a re-read, when actually, the depth of the reader has.

Thus I find the joys of re-reading often trump the initial joy of reading. Thus too, old philosophical quests can be found to be new and vital each time we return to them-- if we ourselves are new and vital.

I will go on to look closely Wittgenstein's later word games. I am new to this philosopher, just recently discovered by me because a friend said I was starting to sound like him. I think that word games are great fun, but the general reader may not be interested in "guessing" the rules for word games that are more complex than say "punning."

Could one guess the game I was trying to play in my last rhymed verses? Like those complex photographs all composed of small photographs not related to the whole, in a similar way I was trying to say simple things using only parts of things that mean something else. Or possibly to set
words in defiance of their own meanings-- a poetic idea if could be seriously carried out. A linguistic auto-de-fe. But it may just seem like an odd, meaningless form of punning?

Nov. 23rd, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Kleinwitz...that's good. Kleinwitz is good. To use the phraseology of somebody or other who wrote of Denmark.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Cydonia photo: ESA

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