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Wittgenstein -2012

April 25th, 2012

“A philosopher,” he wrote in 1944, “is a man who has to cure many intellectual diseases in himself before he can arrive at the notions of common sense” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The Early Years

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was born in Vienna, at Alleegasse 16 (now Argentinierstraße), on 26 April 1889 at 8.30 in the evening.

  • Composite photo

    “Don’t think, look!” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

    The woman with the haunted look staring back out of the photograph has never existed. She is a composite, created by overlaying four different photos of four different faces: three sisters, all middle-aged Austrian women, and their brother, the philosophical genius Ludwig Wittgenstein.

    The tragedy of Wittgenstein’s photographs

  • Two scenes from Derek Jarman’s film ‘Wittgenstein’ (1989)

  • The House of Wittgenstein here.

  • The House of Wittgenstein

    May 15th, 2009

    Mind Games project (1/6) - Ludwig Wittgenstein Gretl gk017
    (Fabienne Leclerc – Via)
    Mindgames of L.Wittgwnstein by Fabienne Leclerc and Margaret “Gertle” Wittgenstein painted by Gustav Klimt

    Margaret “Gertle” Wittgenstein and her younger brother Ludwig Wittgenstein did not get along according to Alexander Waugh who wrote “The House of Wittgenstein” which has been receiving great attention in the literary world.

    Waugh claims that Gretl was the warmest, kindest and most humorous Wittgenstein, but also the bossiest, most ambitious and worldly. The most normal was Helene, who married a civil servant. But it is the brothers who really fascinate Waugh. Three committed suicide (Via)

    Ludwig distributed 100,000 kronen among various Austrian “artists”. These included the architecht Adolf Loos, the painter Oskar Kokoschka and the poets Rainer Maria Rilke and Georg Trakl. (page 61 – The House of Wittgenstein)

    Here is a review from New Yorker, The nervous splendor – The Wittgenstein family had a genius for misery by Anthony Gottlieb.

    Alexander Waugh is the grandson of Evelyn Waugh.

    Alexander Waugh, the author of “The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War” (Doubleday; $28.95), is no stranger to family sagas. He belongs to the fourth generation of an English literary dynasty that includes the novelist Evelyn Waugh, who was his grandfather; his previous book, “Fathers and Sons,” is a memoir of the Waughs.

    Waugh’s emphasis is on Paul the one hand concert pianist in this book.
    Here is Marjorie Perloff (Bookforum), her review -Sniveling Rivalry -Alexander Waugh psychologizes the troubled Wittgenstein clan

    Indeed, The House of Wittgenstein might have been a much more interesting book had it focused on the differences, rather than the similarities, between Ludwig and the other Wittgensteins. How was it, after all, that out of eight siblings—siblings brought up so similarly in such particular circumstances— a single one emerged as so unlike the rest?

    House witthou2 designed by Ludwig Wittgenstein.
    (Stonborough House was designed and built by Wittgenstein between 1926-8)

    In the late 1920s, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein designed and built a house in Vienna for his sister. Wittgenstein’s family was extremely wealthy (there were gold-plated faucets in the bathrooms at home), and the building proceeded without the usual financial constraint. In one famous instance, to better satisfy his sense of proportion Wittgenstein had the drawing room ceiling torn out and rebuilt three centimeters higher.
    As a novice architect, Wittgenstein obviously had large ambitions. “I am not interested in erecting a building,” he once wrote, “but in … presenting to myself the foundations of all possible buildings.” Whether or not his sister’s house approached this high ideal, Wittgenstein himself judged the finished building to be austere and sterile. It has “good manners,” he later wrote, but no “primordial life,” no “health.” (Via)

    Tolstoy and Wittgenstein

    The impact of The Gospel in Brief upon Wittgenstein’s philosophy (especially the later passages of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus), and his general view of ethics.

    Previous post on Wittgenstein + Bruce Naumann

    And Lastly visit an interactive net art
    88 Constellations for Wittgenstein:(to be played by the left hand)

    Poking around Wittgenstein + Bruce Nauman

    April 27th, 2005

    Some random observations
    1) Examples of Wittgenstein’s influence on art in general as follow:
    A) Both Bruce Nauman and Jasper Johns were profoundly influenced by Wittgenstein. Their works reflect the paradox that the connection between the proposition and reality is not found in the picture itself.
    B) In a recent biography of Willem de Kooning, the author described de Kooning’s preference of Wittgenstein to Sartre. Bernett Newman read and studied Wittgenstein and probably influenced de Kooning who tended to learn by listening and paying attention to his peers.
    C) Derek Jarman made a film called “Wittgenstein”. (Film fun trailer here on youtube )
    D) The Artist Wittgenstein by Terry Eagleton (a report on a new paperback The Literary Wittgenstein, edited by John Gibson and Wolfgang Huemer) “Why are artists so fascinated by Ludwig Wittgenstein? ” wrote T. Eagleton, then he lists additional artists and writers who have incorporated Wittgenstein’s thoughts in their work. (Must read said Matt from Pas au-dela)

    Sculpture by Bruce Nauman
    Bruce Nauman

    Wittgenstein along with Marcel Duchamp, and Samuel Beckett provided a more questioning and critical intellectual foundation for artists to pursue visual art as a tool to investigate the nature of reality through language games. (visual art is another kind of language that artists teach one another as well as accommodate new idioms and expressions).

    2) Ludwig Wittgenstein was born on April 26, 1889 .
    Taurus with moon in Pisces. (the same as James Mason and Audrey Hepburn). Moon in Pisces is otherworldy, intuitive, compassionate, private and impressionable. This trait explains why Wittgenstein gave up his family fortune in favor of more humble, austere lifestyle. He acted more like a mystic than a professional philosopher or an engineer.

    3) He was Taurus OX- the deliberate Dictator The autocratic and dictatorial side of him showed up when Wittgenstein threatend Karl Popper, the famous poker incident involoving Karl Popper and Wittgenstein.

    4) Wittgenstein and Zen Buddhism

    5) Marjorie Perlof’s Wittgenstein Ladder, an Introduction..
    “A philosopher,” he wrote in 1944, “is a man who has to cure many intellectual diseases in himself before he can arrive at the notions of common sense” (CV 44). And again, “My account will be hard to follow: because it says something new but still has egg-shells from the old view sticking to it” (CV 44). Perhaps it is this curious mix of mysticism and common-sense, of radical thought to which the “egg-shells” of one’s old views continue to “stick,” that has made Wittgenstein, who had no interest at all in the “poetry” of his own time, paradoxically a kind of patron saint for poets and artists. ”

    6) One time Salon blogger dogma on Wittgenstein as a mystic.

    Neon Sign by Bruce Nauman
    Bruce Nauman 2
    The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths

    Here is a discussion on Wittgenstein’s influence on art. (Part of two questions posed by a blogger. Must be patient to sort this out.
    Steve Reich’s Proverb was based on the text of Wittgenstein- “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!“. I have loved and listend to his music without knowing about this until now.

    On Freud, Wittgenstein said, “It seems to me that my dreams are always an expression of my fears, not, as Freud thought, my wishes. I could build up an interpretation of dreams just cogent as Freud’s in terms of repressed fears.
    “Freud’s work died with him. No one today can do psychoanalysis in the way he did. Now a book that really would interest me would be the one he wrote in collaboration with Breuer”. (Recollection of Wittgenstein, edited by Rhees p154) In footnote, he further stated – I have always believed – without knowing why that the real germ of psychoanalysis came from Breuer, not Freud. Of course Breuer’s seed-grain can only have been quite tiny.” Wittgenstein died of cancer in 1951, the unpopular view expressed by him came from his intuition and acute observation.

    Lost in words….

    The House of Wittgenstein here.