FOR WITTGENSTEIN, this new program was also reflected in the formal shape of his philosophizing. He was no longer concerned with pouring his own thought into the rigid, hierarchically structured, and rigorously demonstrative form of a treatise. His philosophizing had much more in common with the genre of the commonplace book or the notes of a flâneur in equal measure astounded and fascinated by detail. Wittgenstein set off on this path in 1929. And by consistently following it, he completed his Philosophical Investigations in 1945. It is a collection, as he writes in the preface, of remarks “like a number of sketches of landscapes that were made in the course of these long and involved journeyings.” Travel pictures, then, thought-pictures, produced in the course of an exploration of the diversity of human speech itself: “The same points or almost the same points,” Wittgenstein goes on, almost in the spirit of Benjamin the flâneur, “were always being approached afresh from different directions, and new sketches made … so that you could get a picture of the landscape. Thus this book is really only an album.”TIME OF THE MAGICIANS
For some reason, this quote gave me furiously to think at the weekend, and has stayed with me all week. Sometimes a piece of writing will for no reason nudge me over on to a different track, sometimes one I’d left years ago, and I pick up the pursuit of that thought from the point I left it. If that makes any sense.