philosopher's window

Hermine Wittgenstein tells of the bewilderment of the family over Ludwig’s determination, immediately upon his return home at the end of World War One, to rid himself unconditionally of his whole fortune; and of her own dismay at his decision to become a country schoolteacher. She protested to him that his teaching in an elementary school would be like ‘using a precision instrument to open crates’. She was silenced when he replied: ‘You remind me of someone who is looking through a closed window and cannot explain to himself the strange movements of a passer-by. He doesn’t know what kind of a storm is raging outside and that this person is perhaps only with great effort keeping himself on his feet.’



  1. stunning!
    i feel that we always look through closed windows to the others, and as much as we struggle to understand their "movements", we always fail at knowing what really causes them, and why...

    it reminds me of this quote of Bacon's, to which i always go back, incessantly:

    But I am satisfied with what I did. How can you be satisfied? Cause everything escapes you, you know that perfectly well, you know – even when you are in love with somebody, everything escapes you, you would want to be near that person – how can you cut your flesh open and join it with the other person, it is an impossibility to do. So it is with art, it is almost like a long affair with objects and images and sensations and what one would call a passion. It is very much like that. You may love somebody very much but how near can you get to that person. You are still always unfortunately sort of strangers.

    Francis Bacon

  2. Of course. But Wittgenstein was right, as was Ghandi, and Tony Benn, and Jesus, to divest himself of the wealth he had not earned. "Shekel" literally means "weight."