1930 ~ 1950
It is a great temptation to try to make the spirit explicit.
A confession has to be a part of your new life.
If you use a trick in logic, whom can you be tricking other than yourself?
In my artistic activities I really have nothing but good manners.
The way to solve the problem you see in life is to live in a way that will make
what is problematic disappear.
The fact that life is problematic shows that the shape of your life does not fit
into life's mould. So you must change the way you live and, once your life
does fit into the mould, what is problematic will disappear.
But don't we have the feeling that someone who sees no problem in life is
blind to something important, even to the most important thing of all? Don't I
feel like saying that a man like that is just living aimlessly — blindly, like a
mole, and that if only he could see, he would see the problem?
Or shouldn't I say rather: a man who lives rightly won't experience the
problem as sorrow, so for him it will not be a problem, but a joy rather; in
other words for him it will be a bright halo round his life, not a dubious
If I am thinking about a topic just for myself and not with a view to writing a
book, I jump about all round it; that is the only way of thinking that comes
naturally to me. Forcing my thoughts into an ordered sequence is a torment
for me. Is it even worth attempting now?
I squander an unspeakable amount of effort making an arrangement of my
thoughts which may have no value at all.
The origin and the primitive form of language game is a reaction; only
from this can more complicated forms develop.
Language — I want to say — is refinement, 'in the beginning was the deed'.
Nobody can truthfully say of himself that he is filth. Because if I do say it, though it
can be true in a sense, this is not a truth by which I myself can be penetrated:
otherwise I should either have to go mad or change myself.
You cannot write anything about yourself that is more truthful than you
yourself are. That is the difference between writing about yourself and
writing about external objects. You write about yourself from your own
height. You don't stand on sti;ts or on a ladder but on your bare feet.
Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.
In philosophy the winner of the race is the one who can run most slowly. Or:
the one who gets there last.
No one can speak the truth; if he has still not mastered himself. He cannot speak
it; — but not because he is not clever enough yet.
The truth can be spoken only by someone who is already at home in it; not
by someone who still lives in falsehood and reaches out from falsehood
towards truth on just one occasion.
One of the most important methods I use is to imagine a historical
development for our ideas different from what actually occurred. If we do this
we see the problem from a completely new angle.
Aim at being loved without being admired.
Don't take the example of others as your guide, but nature!
A philosopher is a man who has to cure many intellectual diseases in himself
before he can arrive at the notions of common sense.
What's ragged should be left ragged.
When I came home I expected a surprise and there was no surprise for me,
so, of course, I was surprised.
The thought working its way towards the light.
Madness need not be regarded as an illness. Why shouldn't it be seen as a
sudden — more or less sudden — change of character?
Wisdom is cold and to that extent stupid. (Faith on the other hand is a
passion.) It might also be said: Wisdom merely conceals life from you.
(Wisdom is like cold grey ash, covering up the glowing embers.)
Just as I cannot write verse, so too my ability to write prose extends only so far,
and no farther. There is quite definite limit to the prose I can write and I can
no more overstep that than I can write a poem. This is the nature of my
equipment; and it is the only equipment I have. It's as though someone were
to say: In this game I can only attain such and such a degree of perfection, I can't
go beyond it.
Even the most refined taste has nothing to do with creative power.
When you are philosophizing you have to descend into primeval chaos and
feel at home there.
Where others go ahead, I stay in one place.
Ambition is the death of thought.
One age misunderstands another; and a petty age misunderstands all the others
in its own nasty way.
Culture and Value
translated by Peter Winch