Friday, May 04, 2007

Thoughts for the Morning

"If you offer a sacrifice and are pleased with yourself about it, both you and your sacrifice are cursed."

"The edifice of your pride has to be dismantled. And that is terribly hard work."

"Early physcists are said to have found suddenly that they had too little mathematical understanding to cope with physics; and in almost the same way young people today can be said to be in a situation where ordinary common sense no longer suffices to meet the strange demands life makes. Everything has become so intricate that mastering it would require an exceptional intellect. Because skill at playing the game is no longer enough; the question that keeps coming up is: can this game be played at all now and what would be the right game to play?"

"Christianity is not a doctrine, not, I mean, a theory about what has happened and will happen to the human soul, but a description of something that actually takes place in human life. For 'consciousness of sin' is a real event and so are despair and salvation through faith. Those who speak of such things (Bunyan for instance) are simply describing what has happened to them, whatever gloss anyone may want to put on it."

"Christianity is not based on a historical truth; rather, it offers us a (historical) narrative and says: now believe! But not, believe this narrative with the belief appropriate to a historical narrative, rather: believe, through thick and thin, which you can only do as a result of a life. Here you have a narrative, don't take the same attitutude to it as you take to other historical narratives! Make a quite different place in your life for it.--There is nothing paradoxical about that!"

"Queer as it sounds: The historical accounts in the Gospels might, historically speaking, be demonstrably false and yet belief would lose nothing by this: not, however, because it concerns 'universal truths of reason'! Rather, because historical proofs (the historical proof-game) is irrelevant to belief. This message (the Gospels) is seized on by men believingly (i.e., lovingly). That is the certainty characterizing this particular acceptance-as-true, not something else.

A believer's relation to these narratives is neither the relation to historical truth (probability), nor yet that to a theory of 'truths of reason'. There is such a thing.--(We have quite different attitudes even to different species of what we call fiction!)"

"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 stilts or on a ladder but on your bare feet."

--Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1937

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