A thought must arrive all at once, or not at all, he says.

Spontaneity: that is his aim.  To think spontaneously, as by a kind of reflex.

We must retrain our thought-instincts, he says.  We must rehone our most basic thought-responses.


Inside the Fitzwilliam, sheltering from the rain.

His brother thought of himself as a kind of Noah, Wittgenstein says, as we wander among the exhibits.

Logic is what guards us against the Flood, his brother said.  Against the annulment of order.  Against the destruction of goodness.

Noah sought sanctuary on the face of the abyss, his brother wrote in his notebooks.  And isn’t that what I am seeking: a sanctuary on the face of the abyss?

As love is stronger than death, so is logic stronger than chaos, his brother wrote in his notebooks.  In the storm of the world, the ark of my thought will anchor on the mountain of certainty.


There’s a fire backstage, he says.  The clown comes out to warn the audience.  Laughter and applause.  They think it’s a joke!  The clown repeats his warning.  The fire grows hotter; the applause grows louder.  That’s how the world will end, Wittgenstein says: to general applause, from halfwits who think it’s a joke.


And the first morning of the world will dawn again, he says.  The eternal New Year.  And he will step with us all into the new world.  The coming world.

And there will be only forces and densities, not forms and matters, he says.  And there will be but currents and countercurrents, peaks and troughs, and nothing enduring.

And there will be nothing but God, he says.  Nothing but divinity, angels torn apart.  Nothing but the end, perpetually ending.  Nothing but the beginning, eternally recurring.

After philosophy, we will have no names, he says.

Lars Iyer, Wittgenstein Jr.