i’m occasionally surprised to come across new old stuff about Wittgenstein. i just found these:

1. 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein, an odd kind of website.

2. Russell croaks on about Wittgenstein:

3. Osho on Wittgenstein. Some of what he says, the historical things, are just wrong (e.g. claiming that the Tractatus was Wittgenstein’s “lecture notes”); some is interesting to me, for example:

He never wrote any other books in a different fashion — it became his style just to write notes, fragments.

The fame of the book proved that when you write an essay your idea has to be spread all over the essay and it loses its intensity, its sharpness. It becomes more understandable but less penetrating. When it is just like a maxim, a bare, naked statement with no decorations around it, it simply hits deeper, although it will be understood by only very few people — people who have the capacity to see in the seed the whole tree, which is not yet existent but is only a potentiality. And a man can see in the seed the whole tree.

Wittgenstein’s statements are just like seeds. You will have to figure them out, what potential they have. He does not give you any clue, he simply puts the seed in front of you and goes ahead putting down other seeds. He never tries to connect them; you will have to connect them.

and

I, on my part, would rather have seen Wittgenstein sitting at the feet of Gurdjieff than studying with Moore and Russell. That was the right place for him, but he missed. Perhaps next time, I mean next life… for him, not for me. For me this is enough, this is the last. But for him, at least once he needs to be in the company of a man like Gurdjieff or Chuang Tzu, Bodhidharma — but not Moore, Russell, not Whitehead. He was associating with these people, the wrong people. A right man in the company of wrong people, that’s what destroyed him.

and

Wittgenstein can become awakened; he could have become awakened even in this life. Alas, he associated with wrong company. But his book can be of great help to those who are really third-degree insane. If they can make any sense out of it, they will come back to sanity.

4. i’ve been reading a lot of Thomas Bernhard recently. A deeply strange, tormented individual who respected Wittgenstein and loathed Heidegger. i suppose one could say that Wittgenstein, among many other writers and artists, helped Bernhard come a bit closer to sanity. Here is a picture of Bernhard looking relatively sane:

bernhard

i came to study Wittgenstein through Bernhard. Shortly after moving to Manchester in 2007 – about 5 minutes’ walk from Wittgenstein’s old student digs, though i didn’t know it then – i chanced upon Bernhard’s Correction in the Manchester library. i had a vague idea he was supposed to be good so had a look; that the introduction was by George Steiner moved me to read it, and i remember having vivid, coloured dreams for the first time in months (the drab, oppressive work i did tended to dull my imagination in both the waking and dreaming world). Steiner claimed that the hero, Rotheimer, was based on Wittgenstein, and so the next time i was in the library, and saw, by chance, Ray Monk’s Wittgenstein biography, i decided to read it.

During his lifetime, Bernhard attracted considerable scorn and derision from the apple polishing literary/journalistic classes, which i can understand given what Steiner calls the “monotonous buzzsaw of hatred” in his works towards his homeland of Austria, Salzburg, and nefarious, educated apple polishers. Still, his critics – urbane, well-fed men of the world, men without anguish, men without qualms or doubts of any kind – are now totally forgotten, and Bernhard is still read. Although Bernhard makes absolutely no attempt to prettify himself, i feel a deep readerly affection for his curmudgeonly character and books. He is Samuel Beckett without the goodness and most of the humour, but with added spite and murderous rage – but the gift for writing is, i would say, roughly as strong, and that redeems a great deal. Beckett died on December 22, 1989, Bernhard on February 12 of the same year.

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