All problems are insoluble. The essence of there being a problem is that there’s no solution. To go looking for a fact means the fact doesn’t exist. To think is to not know how to be.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet   (tr. Richard Zenith)

i am occasionally struck by the kinship between Wittgenstein and Pessoa, the Port only a year older and from a roughly comparable culture, that is to say, European. i think the chief difference is that Wittgenstein wasn’t a wallower, he was distinctly an engineer, a practical man. Of the two i would have thought Wittgenstein the more likely to die young of suicide or some folly, or just from stress-induced illness; and yet he lived to almost the same age as Abelard, 62, while Pessoa died aged 47. Such fates interest me. One could perhaps sketch out a little book dwelling on such matters – the correspondences between certain writers (Abelard, Isaac Luria, Milton, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Pessoa, for example), and of course the contrasts; where souls seem almost one in their fate, then again how they are so utterly distinct. Some will have been the same “soul” (an odd word) doing similar things, others distinct and yet, on some level, kin – as if god made Pierre Abelard and Ludwig Wittgenstein on the same morning and using the same palette and brush.

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