It was a lovely Sunday afternoon in Greece and Dimitri and Tasso decided to take a stroll on the beach. It was then it came to pass, Dimitri dipped his great toe in the ocean and ... the whole, awesome cosmos collapsed into tiny, little fragments. (Behind
this tattered fabric stood Heraclitus, halfway naked, and somewhat nude, crying into the river.)
Dimitri: "I have found it."
Tasso: "What is it?"
Dimitri: "The heart of man.
The Father of all joys. The Mother of all sorrows. The, er, essence of our souls. Nothing less! than the root of all!"
Tasso: "And what is that, my dear Dimitri?"
Dimitri: "The eternal. Or, our belief in the eternal."
Tasso: "An interesting
proposition! And since the sun is sunny on a Sunday, we shall proceed to investigate that."
Dimitri: "And if it rains?"
Tasso: "Then it would be Wednesday ... and we would go fishing."
Dimitri: "Makes sense."
Tasso: "So, my dear
Dimitri, what are we getting at?"
Dimitri: "I maintain that the eternal cannot be and, our logic is dependent on the eternal."
Tasso: "So, what you are saying is that, er, there is no such thing as logic!"
Dimitri: "Yes. The world does not exist as it is made of words and words are dependent on logic! It follows that they are both nonentities and that they exist solely in
Tasso: "First, we must establish the parameters of your claim. Are we talking ontology here, or what?"
Dimitri: "No. There is no such thing."
Tasso: "Then let's get started! What exactly is your argument?"
Dimitri: "From that it follows: the eternal cannot be."
Tasso: "I mean, what is your argument?"
Dimitri: "Er...? It's more like an observation than anything else."
Tasso: "Well, it's not
me you need to convince, it is the world."
Dimitri: "But there is no world!"
Tasso: "Then we have a problem!"
I have read the Tractatus a dozen of times--but I do not understand a word of it! Mostly
because I lack context. Without context, everything is just a meaningless heap! That is, I lack training in the philosophical arts. But even if I had the proper training: Holy shit! In Limbo you are handed Wittgenstein's Tractatus and, only when you are able
to throw the ladder away, you may escape. Needless to say, you will enjoy Limbo for a long time. Possibly forever.
A short summary of what I believe:
I believe that the early Wittgenstein saw the world as this "structure." This
structure permeated everything. It is like acid. Language could speak of the world because language mirrored this structure. That is, if the structure is all that is (i.e., the world is all that is the case), then language (logic, math, etc.) must also be
(of) this structure. Therefore, we can picture the world. We can make true or false statements. True statements are simply those that mirror the structure or is this structure. False and nonsensical statements are not of the structure. To state: "The world
exists.", for example, is not to state something profound. That is, the structure cannot speak of itself that way. That is, the structure cannot get outside of itself. You cannot step outside your own awareness and then look at it: because you are this awareness.
Likewise, the truth cannot prove its own truth. The logical system can prove things, but it cannot prove itself. That is, the biggest Russian doll can contain all the other Russian dolls, but it cannot contain itself. Some truths are thus unspeakable. The
whole system will forever be incomplete. I believe this is Gödel. Likewise,
4.12 Propositions can represent the whole reality, but they cannot
represent what they must have in common with reality in order
to be able
to represent it—the logical form.
To be able to represent the logical form, we should have to
be able to put ourselves with the propositions outside logic, that
is outside the world.
Propositions cannot represent the logical form: this mirrors itself
in the propositions.
That which mirrors itself in language, language cannot represent.
That which expresses itself in language, we cannot express
The propositions show the logical form of reality.
They exhibit it.
"By" is the keyword here.
Likewise, metaphysics which tries to reach beyond the structure is reaching for what cannot be reached for. Such
things we must pass over in silence. The end.
"That which mirrors itself in language, language cannot represent." If the structure mirrors itself in language, then language cannot represent it for the same reason that the structure itself
cannot represent itself, that is, the structure cannot get outside of itself in order to represent itself. In the last instance, the structure can be shown. You can see that the truth is true, so to speak, but you cannot prove it. You can see that "1 + 1 =
2," for example. But you cannot prove it. That is, if "1 + 1 = 2" is of the structure, then it is true if simply because it is of the structure. But there is no ultimate proof beyond the structure. The structure itself is just a structure: the structure is
neither true nor false; the structure is simply "there." What is true or false is tested on the background of the structure. If the thing is of the structure, then it is true. If it isn't, then it isn't. But you cannot use this test on the structure itself
as that would be circular. The structure cannot prove that "1 + 1 = 2." no more than a crystal or rock can prove it. If "1 + 1 = 2" is true, then "1 + 1 = 2" is simply of the structure. But that does not prove that "1 + 1 = 2" is true. It only shows that "1
+ 1 = 2" is of the structure.
"But "1 + 1 = 2" has to be true if it is of the structure?" But it does not prove it. Likewise, a particular Russian doll has to be a certain size relative to a particular other in order to be contained. But
the biggest Russian doll, there is no containing her.
"You can say there are an infinite number of Russian dolls and, in some twisted dimension, they all contain each other!" If they managed to do so, then it would be the definition of
hell! They could never get out!
I can use "1" as a tool. But I do not understand what it is. Likewise, I can use my hammer as a tool. But what the hammer is I have no idea! You might say: "The hammer is a bunch of atoms!" Then what are
those? ad infinitum. Ultimately, this "1" is more muddy than the notion of infinity. It turns into waves and spreads out all over the place. We use it to explain the universe!
The reason why I think Wittgenstein
failed: The logical system is not of this structure. The structure is beyond the complete. Logic is the incomplete.
The logical system is not of this structure. This structure is what I call becoming. Logic is being. Of becoming we cannot
speak. We must pass it ALL over in silence! Being was born with one ability: to utterly fail becoming.
My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands
me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed
through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw
away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world
What you see is that the
structure is simply there. Truth and falsity, of which we are concerned, cannot be used on the structure itself. "Truth and falsity" are not of the structure. That is, a comparison (i.e., the act of comparing) is an activity and not a thing. And, therefore,
you stop to do what cannot be done. And metaphysics is one of them, I guess.
What you see is that the structure is simply there:
Objects I can only name. Signs represent them. I can only speak
of them. I cannot assert them.
A proposition can only say how
a thing is, not what it is.
If you can only say "How," then you can only compare. You can compare what is being said with the structure; if what is being said is of the structure, then what is being
said is true. But you cannot go deeper than that. You must ever dwell on the surface. You cannot dive into things like metaphysics does.
"This structure permeated everything. It is like acid." Further evidence: Wittgenstein asserts that
we cannot think illogically--And that goes without saying if all is one structure or "atomic facts," and, those facts = the logical system or something like logic, something that mirrors it.
I believe, it was this Mirror World that Wittgenstein
believed in. Thus, no room for "cause and effect." Everything was this inner, beautiful relationship. Like pearls on a string. Holding each other by the hands. They do not "cause" each other, that is, they are already holding hands. Everything is thus prejudged.
In logic nothing is accidental: if a thing can occur in an atomic
fact the possibility of that atomic fact must already be prejudged
in the thing.
Thus everything is "this" structure.
the end, though, I am simply the layman's apprentice--and not even that! The apprentice's apprentice!
I do not claim to understand a word of the Tractatus.
I believe Wittgenstein thought something like this: Here we
are. And that is weird. But because we are here, then this "here" must have a structure; it must be a fact, thus, here it is! It must have a sense, a way of being; and, this sense is its structure. I am not dealing with nonsense! "I am," and it is not absurd.
Therefore: I am dealing with a structure, a sense. So the things that can be said, can be said clearly. And these facts, which must be atomic facts (It goes without saying!), must be what they are. So we cannot speak of them. And, because they are what they
are, and that they are, then, in this "are" lies = everything else must also be these atomic facts. That is what it is. If a house is made of bricks and nothing but the bricks and, if all that is, is this house, then all that is are these bricks, these atomic
facts. And every possible construction is prejudged in these bricks. Thus our language must also be a "brick." Thus, we can hook into the world but we cannot say What it is. We can deal with How but the What we cannot touch. Therefore, I conclude: The world
is all that is the case.
However, the universe has no structure.