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Sunday
Nov222009

Hermine on Her Brother Becoming Wittgenstein

Hermine observes the following changes in her brother ...

"Already at that time, a profound transformation was taking place in Ludwig, the results of which were not to be apparent until after the war, and which finally culminated in his decision not to possess any more wealth. ...

His second decision, to choose a completely unpretentious vocation and perhaps to become a country schoolteacher, was at first incomprehensible even to me. Since we, his brothers and sisters, very often communicated with each other in comparisons, I told him … that imagining him with his philosophically-trained mind as an elementary school teacher it was to me as if someone were to use a precision instrument to open crates. Thereupon Ludwig answered with a comparison which silenced me[,] for he said, "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." It was then that I understood his state of mind."

      ----- Hermine Wittgenstein

 Sources: Rush Rhees, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Personal Recollections, Blackwell 1981 p. 4-5; Michael Nedo, Guy Moreton and Alec Finlay, “Ludwig Wittgenstein, There Where You are Not,” 2005, at p. 39.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.

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