Wittgenstein not in favor of prospective new German government. In particular the Greens

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Public and Private Occasions

Wittgenstein got to know Hansel after attending a class on logic that Hansel was giving to prisoners who hoped upon release to train as teachers. Both were imprisoned in Cassino/Italy.



Cambridge, after November 23, 1929

Thanks for your letter. I don’t agree with you, you know that. And I will briefly say why not. I consider both parties indecent. The red one appears less onerous to me only insofar as its indecency is in keeping with the times, whereas that of the others is moreover one that is retrograde. That is I would mention in passing the greens & blacks haven’t even gotten so far yet. Further: All of these parties lack religion but the greatest danger for religiosity seems to me to lie with the green party, in roughly the same sense in which the lukewarm is more distant from the warm than is the cold, though that sounds paradoxical; but you also know where it comes from.” Open hostility to religion seems more promising to me than the other disgusting conviction, which is on personal terms with religion & with God & drags it down to its own level. I am not dumb enough to believe that a “noble atheism” rules in the red party, instead there too everything is cloaked & false, but by a slight degree less well cloaked & therefore less dangerous to the soul than a conviction that manages to be apparently on good terms with the highest ideals. It would be a long matter to explain why the party system in other countries, for example in England, is at least not yet a disgrace to every decent human being; but in our special situation I believe that all parties are hopeless & that the only extremely faint hope rests on the few, who do not believe that something good can nevertheless come from supporting an indecent thing. That is, I believe that in this case it is not right to choose between two evils but to repudiate equally, since all misery comes about precisely through this that no one has enough character to radically stress the demand of decency & doesn’t in the end make a deal after all. …

Excerpt from “Ludwig Wittgenstein – Public and Private Occasions“. Edited by James C. Klagge and Alfred Nordmann.

Ludwig Wittgenstein once dreamt

A couple of days ago I dreamt the following:
I was leading a mule whose keeper I seemed to be. First on a street-I think in an oriental town; then into an office where I had to wait in a large room. In front of that was a smaller one full of people. The mule was restless & stubborn. I held it by a short rope & thought that I would like for it to run its head up against the wall-at which I was sitting-then it would calm down. I kept talking 161 to it, calling it “inspector.” For it seemed to me that this was the ordinary name for a mule just as one calls a horse “bay” or a cat “kitty.” And I thought “if I now come to have horses I will call them inspector, too” (that is, I am so used to the word inspector from dealing with mules). Only after I awoke from this did I notice that one doesn’t call mules “inspector” at all.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Public and Private Occasions – Edited by James C. Klagge and Alfred Nordmann

100 years Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is and happens as it does happen. In it there is no value—and if there were, it would be of no value.
If there is a value which is of value, it must lie outside all happening and being-so. For all happening and being-so is accidental.
What makes it non-accidental cannot lie in the world, for otherwise this would again be accidental.
It must lie outside the world.
6.42 Hence also there can be no ethical propositions. Propositions cannot express anything higher.
6.421 It is clear that ethics cannot be expressed. Ethics are transcendental.
(Ethics and æsthetics are one.)

75 years ago Karl Popper admonished Ludwig Wittgenstein “Not to threaten visiting lecturers with pokers.”

It was on Oct. 25, 1946 at the Cambridge Moral Science Club – a weekly discussion group for the university’s philosophers and philosophy students – held one of its regular meetings. As usual, the members assembled in King’s College at 8.30, in a set of rooms in the Gibbs Building – number 3 on staircase H.

Popper’s account can be found in his intellectual autobiography, Unended Quest, published in 1974. According to this version of events, Popper put forward a series of what he insisted were real philosophical problems. Wittgenstein summarily dismissed them all. Popper recalled that Wittgenstein ‘had been nervously playing with the poker’, which he used ‘like a conductor’s baton to emphasize his assertions’, and when a question came up about the status of ethics, Wittgenstein challenged him to give an example of a moral rule. ‘I replied: “Not to threaten visiting lecturers with pokers.” Whereupon Wittgenstein, in a rage, threw the poker down and stormed out of the room, banging the door behind him.’

Here is another account of those memorable moments.

Michael Wolff sees that Wittgenstein has the poker idly in his hand and, as he stares at the fire, is fidgeting with it. Someone says something that visibly annoys Wittgenstein. By this time Russell has become involved. Wittgenstein and Russell are both standing. Wittgenstein says, ‘You misunderstand me, Russell. You always misunderstand me.’ He emphasizes ‘mis’, and ‘Russell’ comes out as ‘Hrussell’. Russell says, ‘You’re mixing things up, Wittgenstein. You always mix things up.’ Russell’s voice sounds a bit shrill, quite unlike when lecturing.
Peter Munz watches Wittgenstein suddenly take the poker – red hot – out of the fire and gesticulate with it angrily in front of Popper’s face. Then Russell – who so far has not spoken a word – takes the pipe out of his mouth and says firmly, ‘Wittgenstein, put down that poker at once!’ His voice is high-pitched and somewhat scratchy. Wittgenstein complies, then, after a short wait, gets up and walks out, slamming the door.

The difference in their personalities was striking.

Karl Popper’s presence is not to be found haunting stage plays and poetry. In truth, such a thing is hard to imagine: he could scarcely be a greater contrast to Wittgenstein, presenting a picture of sheer human ordinariness, with an undeviating academic and married life. As for their impact on others, while Wittgenstein would at once dominate any room he entered, Popper could pass almost unnoticed, as his friend and champion the philosopher, politician and broadcaster Bryan Magee recollects from his first sight of him at a meeting:

The speaker and chairman entered side by side. At that moment I realized I did not know which of the two was Popper … However, since one was a solid, self-confident figure and the other small and unimpressive, it looked as though the former must be Popper. Needless to say, it was the latter, the little man with no presence. However, he lacked presence only for so long as he was not speaking – though even then what compelled attention was not his manner but the content of what he said.

Edmonds, David; Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein’s Poker: The Story of a Ten Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers Faber & Faber. Kindle Edition.

SG Präsidentin Mente, erweitern Sie Ihren literarischen Horizont

“Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:
More needs she the divine than the physician.”


Frau Bayerische Voralpen Präsidentin des SG München Mente,

Darf ich Ihnen meine ungeteilte Anerkennung aussprechen, wie Sie die Last der präsidialen Führung eines Gerichts im Land des Kleinen Diebischen Bergvolks und zeitgleich, so scheints zumindest bis dato über dreizehn opulente Monate gestreckt, die Aktualisierung der Münchner Staatsanwaltschaft über Ihre juristischen Bedenken, solid fussend auf dem Strafgesetzbuch des Norddeutschen Bunds, das nach der Gründung des Deutschen Kaiserreichs zum Reichsstrafgesetzbuch weiterentwickelt wurde, souverän balancieren. Dies unter der trügenden Annahme des bemalten Schleiers.

“False face must hide what the false heart doth know”

Wir erinnern uns, wie Friedrich Wilhelm I. 1722 den klevischen Adligen bescheinigte, sie seien „dume Oxen aber maliciös [bösartig] wie der deuffel. Auf ihre Privilegia sein sie sehr gesteuret [bedacht]“. Überhaupt, „die Nacion ist sehr intrigandt und fals dabey und sauffen wie die bester [Biester] mehr wissen sie nichts…“

In Ihrem sub rosa Schreiben vom 10.08.2020 (Exhibit 27) an die Staatsanwaltschaft echauffieren Sie sich über Titulierung von “Richter” & Aide-de-Camp Ehegartner als “Punkha Wallah im Zenana” (Exhibit 31) des Jobcenter München.

Als Präsidentin, onduliert mit einem Titel der eitlen Nabelschau gereichend, hätte sich angeboten, zunächst ein wenig Quellenforschung zu betreiben, bevor Sie in die Rolle der Exegetin schlüpfen. Die digitalen Interwellen sind ein ideales Medium, denn dieses Simile als Beleidigung anzusehen, zeugt von illiterater Einfältigkeit. Es gibt ausserhalb des bayerischen Miefs eine Weltliteratur, Sozialgerichts Obfrau. Nutzen Sie das Angebot, sie wirken dann weniger philisterhaft.

In ‘A Passage to India’ beschreibt E. M. Forster die bekannte Szene, die noch dazu in einem Gericht spielt. Madame Präsidentin hätte dieses in zwei Minuten googlen und gleichzeitig ihren literarischen Horizont erweitern können. Jane Austen schrieb einmal, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid”. Hatte Jane Austen das Plaisier, Ihre Bekanntschaft zu machen, Frau Präsidentin?

So Sie nun vielleicht geneigt sind, feiner Prosa Ihr Gehör zu schenken, sei hier ein Exzerpt aus der Novelle geboten:

“Der Hof war überfüllt und natürlich sehr heiß, und die erste Person, die Adela darin bemerkte, war die bescheidenste aller Anwesenden, eine Person, die offiziell nichts mit dem Prozess zu tun hatte: der Mann, der die Punkah zog. Er saß fast nackt und prächtig geformt auf einem erhöhten Podest in der Mitte des Mittelganges, und er erregte ihre Aufmerksamkeit, als sie hereinkam, und er schien das Geschehen zu kontrollieren. Er hatte die Kraft und die Schönheit, die manchmal in Indern von niedriger Geburt zur Blüte kommen. Wenn diese seltsame Rasse sich dem Staub nähert und als unantastbar verurteilt wird, dann erinnert sich die Natur an die körperliche Vollkommenheit, die sie anderswo erreicht hat, und wirft einen Gott heraus – nicht viele, aber hier und da einen, um der Gesellschaft zu beweisen, wie wenig ihre Kategorien sie beeindrucken. Dieser Mann wäre überall bemerkenswert gewesen: Unter den dünnhäutigen, flachbrüstigen Mittelmäßigkeiten von Chandrapore stach er als göttlich hervor, doch er war von der Stadt, ihr Müll hatte ihn genährt, er würde auf ihren Müllhalden enden. Er zog das Seil zu sich heran, entspannte es rhythmisch, schickte Luftwirbel über andere, empfing selbst keine, er schien abseits menschlicher Schicksale zu stehen, ein männliches Schicksal, ein Winzer der Seelen. Ihm gegenüber, ebenfalls auf einem Podest, saß der kleine Hilfsrichter, kultiviert, selbstbewusst und gewissenhaft.”

Edel, nicht wahr? Es wirkt in Bayern wie Perlen vor die Säue geworfen.

Ein Zenana ist ein Ort der Sicherheit und des Wohlbefindens für Frauen der Mughal Hoffamilie von Kindern bis hinauf zu den Ältesten. Die geschätzte Sozialgerichtspräsidentin sollte ihre auf laxem Denken fussende Einschätzung diskontieren. Sie desavouiert sich damit als Rassistin und Befürworterin des Kastensystems. Die Präsidentin merkt offensichtlich nicht, wie ich das Wort punkha wallah elegant eingebunden habe. Language games, oder wie Wittgenstein sagte, “Was ich erfinde, sind neue Similes.” Vielleicht liegt es auch darin begründet, dass ich, Gott seis gepfiffen, nicht aus der Bauerntrampel Provinz stamme.

Wittgenstein in ‘Culture and Value’: “People nowadays think, scientists are there to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc. to entertain them. That the latter have something to teach them; that never occurs to them.”

Carpe diem