Tag Archives: ludwig wittgenstein

Convergence on truths

It is interesting how those from the city of Athens come close, or even exceed, the writings of those in the city of Jerusalem.

Every now and then I’ll come across some writing from an acknowledged non-believer that is the epitome of some point within my own faith. At times, they write far clearer than anyone else has that is a confessed believer.

The will of the believer is directed toward the person of the witness, toward the warrantor. …volition has also the property of “wanting,” affirming, loving what already exists. …love is conceived as the primal act of the will, as the fundamental principle of all volition and the immanent source of every manifestation of the will.

The Thomist, On Faith

What inclines even me to believe in Christ’s resurrection? I play as it were with the thought.–If he did not rise from the dead, then he decomposed in the grave like every human being. He is dead & decomposed. In that case he is a teacher, like any other & can no longer help; & we are once more orphaned & alone. And have to make do with wisdom & speculation. It is as though we are in a hell, where we can only dream & are shut out from heaven, roofed in as it were. But if I am to be REALLY redeemed,– I need certainty–not wisdom, dreams, speculation–and this certainty is faith. And faith is faith in what my heart, my soul, needs, not my speculative intellect. For my soul, with its passions, as it were with its flesh and blood, must be redeemed, not my abstract mind. Perhaps one may say: Only love can believe the Resurrection. Or: it is love that believes the Resurrection

The Analytic, Lecture on Ethics, Culture and Value

What is interesting to note is that The Thomist does not make the connection that it is precisely love that believes. In fact, he makes note that “we cannot quite call ‘love,’ though it partakes somewhat of love’s nature.” Yet the Analytic seems to make a logical leap to this conclusion.

When one truly desires truth, they seem to converge, even if they come from different places.

What is the meaning of life?

When we ask ourselves “what is the meaning of life/world?” It is similar to asking the question, “what is the meaning of such-and-such-word?”

We do not understand what the word means. It is a collection of letters and sounds that has no meaning for us; it is something meaningless. By asking, “what is the meaning of the word ‘apple’?” We are not looking at the word itself, but rather for what it signifies. The word itself is a signifier that points toward something signified. Without this connection, words and meanings are lost to us.

In such a way, words always point towards something else. They do not point to themselves. I may say ‘apple,’ and everyone understands what an apple is. But suppose a non-English speaker is given this word. What is he to do with it? Nothing, for he cannot make the connection between the signifier and the signified.

So as we ask ourselves, “what is the meaning of life/world?” If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered (The Analytic, Tractatus 6.5).

In the general sense of the question, as one may pose it during some crisis in their life, the question cannot be answered or it may be answered in various ways, which is not an answer at all, for the true question to be asked is, “what is the meaning of my life?”viz. “What are my goals and ends?”

However for the philosopher to ask the question specifically, “what is the meaning of life?” we must look at it in an analytical way as we would look at the question, “what is the meaning of the word ‘apple?'” As we find that words point away from themselves to something signified, for what is signified is their meaning, so too then do we find that by asking what is the meaning of life/world, we cannot find the answer within it but rather outside of it.

viz. We are treating the meaning of the life and the world as a symbol of something signified. But to what do they point to?