Where (or of what) one cannot speak, one must remain silent.
The words resound in my head, ‘where one cannot speak, one must be silent’
It now occurs to me me that there may be a lot more of what we cannot speak, than of what we can. And that of what we can speak, most of it is just tautology and is meaningless. What we can speak of are just shadows of what IS and what IS is just a speck of what is not.
Wittgenstein is a master. I cannot say that more strongly. The insight was strong and clear, but whether he actually lived those words I cannot say. What is known historically is that he began to doubt the validity of the work.
My interest in philosophy has taken me down many roads and I shall underline here in a simple way where I think the subject has been going.
In the footsteps of Roger Scruton, I agree that philosophy is a kind of search for the ‘truth’, one half goes it theologically, the other scientifically.
So people asked questions about the nature of things, people who took these questions seriously became philosophers. Today, if you take the question of the nature of things seriously then you too are a philosopher but perhaps not a conventional one. Most of physics, sciences, engineering etc… is philosophy. Art too is philosophy, as it explores the nature of beauty, expression and interpretation. One asks about the nature of reality, practically interacts with reality and judges conclusions made by the results given. Meditation too is a philosophy, it is an exploration into what cannot be said and furthermore what cannot be thought.
If you think you have found ALL the answers, you are then no longer a philosopher, you are either divine, or an idiot. In most cases probably the latter.
Wittgenstein said that there was a limit to what could be said. The style and methods of Tractus leave much to be desired but the point is there is a limit. What lies beyond this limit cannot be said. Today this concept is widely accepted in mathematics, the limits of computation and logic have been widely discussed. There are problems we cannot compute and all logic is ultimately relies on assumption.
Then we must accept that there are now two branches in philosophy, What can be said, and What cannot. Furthermore there may be a case for argument that really we can not even be sure of which camp we are in with any certainty.
I think that Douglas Adams got it just right in the ‘Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’, the answer is 42. And when you have the answer it cannot have meaning. Krishnamurty also said the same thing. Imagine if when you read the paper tomorrow you had an article that said, ‘String Theorists Find the Theory of Everything’, that theory will have no meaning to you. Even if you could understand the math, at the end you would still be Jo Bloggs. Jo who gets jealous if his girlfriend gets hit upon, Jo who could perhaps build quantum leap drives and travel space but would get angry if someone else took the credit.
So Talk, metaphorically as such has no meaning but you can do wonderful things with it. Like building computers etc. Conversely perhaps what Cannot be Talked is useless but will keep you happy! Just remember that it is USELESS!
Keep happy! 🙂