Osho on Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Whatever Bertrand Russell has written in a long life of
almost one century, you can read within six months. It actually
happened.... Bertrand Russell had a student, Ludwig Wittgenstein, a
German, who went through all the books of Bertrand Russell -- which is
not difficult. Bertrand Russell has written everything that occurred in
his mind -- he was one of the greatest intellects of any time -- but he
had to write all that in a long life.
Ludwig Wittgenstein was a young man. He went through all Bertrand Russell's books because Russell was going to be his teacher and he wanted to be absolutely acquainted with what went on in the mind of this man. The day he entered Russell's class he knew much more than Bertrand Russell knew. Bertrand Russell was ancient; Wittgenstein was very young, but he knew more, because he knew all that Bertrand Russell had written and much more that others had written; much that enemies of Bertrand Russell had written. And he found many fallacies and many loopholes in Bertrand Russell's writings.
Bertrand Russell was simply shocked, but he was an authentic man, an honest man. He accepted that: "Ludwig Wittgenstein, although my student, knows far more than I know because he went by a shortcut and I had to go by a long route. He went by a shortcut, became acquainted with everything that I had written, and started arguing against me in such a way that only a tremendously experienced person could."
Bertrand Russell was so impressed in his few days' contact with Ludwig
Wittgenstein that he said to Wittgenstein, "Don't waste your time, you
have nothing to learn from me. You already know more."
Those notes have been published and they proved revolutionary. They are just fragments, because they were not written as an essay or an article -- just any ideas that came to him. But because the book, TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS, became so famous -- it was only a tract, but it became so famous that no other book in philosophy is as famous in this century -- and was so profound, it gave an idea to Wittgenstein. He never wrote any other books in a different fashion -- it became his style just to write notes, fragments.
The fame of the book proved that when you write an essay your idea has to be spread all over the essay and it loses its intensity, its sharpness. It becomes more understandable but less penetrating. When it is just like a maxim, a bare, naked statement with no decorations around it, it simply hits deeper, although it will be understood by only very few people -- people who have the capacity to see in the seed the whole tree, which is not yet existent but is only a potentiality. And a man can see in the seed the whole tree.
Wittgenstein's statements are just like seeds. You will have to figure them out, what potential they have. He does not give you any clue, he simply puts the seed in front of you and goes ahead putting down other seeds. He never tries to connect them; you will have to connect them.
To read Wittgenstein is really an experience. To read anybody else is like having the food chewed for you and then you eating it. With Wittgenstein, it seems he is simply placing the food in front of you: you have to chew it, you have to digest it. You have to find out what it means.
Ordinarily the philosopher tries to convince you of what he means. He tries to prevent you going astray from his meaning, and he gives you the whole package with all the details. But he leaves nothing for you, no homework for you. He is not helping your intelligence; he is, in fact, destroying you. When you start living on liquid food, soon you will be incapable of digesting solid food. The liquid food will destroy your capacity to digest the solid food.
But Bertrand Russell didn't say to Wittgenstein, "You are too young" --
no. And that should be the attitude of a genuine thinker.
Source - Osho Book "From Personality to Individuality"
Ludwig Wittgenstein was really a lovable man. I don't hate him, but I don't dislike him. I like him and I love him, but not his book. His book is only gymnastics. Only once in a while after pages and pages you may come across a sentence which is luminous. For example: That which cannot be spoken should not be spoken; one should be silent about it. Now this is a beautiful statement. Even saints, mystics, poets, can learn much from this sentence. That which cannot be spoken must not be spoken of.
Wittgenstein writes in a mathematical way, small sentences, not even paragraphs -- sutras. But for the very advanced insane man this book can be of immense help. It can hit him exactly in his soul, not only in the head. Just like a nail it can penetrate into his very being. That may wake him from his nightmare. Ludwig Wittgenstein was a lovable man. He was offered one of the most cherished chairs of philosophy at Oxford. He declined. That's what I love in him. He went to become a farmer and fisherman. This is lovable in the man. This is more existential than Jean-Paul Sartre, although Wittgenstein never talked of existentialism. Existentialism, by the way, cannot be talked about; you have to live it, there is no other way.
This book was written when Wittgenstein was studying under G.E.Moore and Bertrand Russell. Two great philosophers of Britain, and a German... it was enough to create TRACTATUS LOGICO PHILOSOPHICUS. Translated it means Wittgenstein, Moore and Russell. I, on my part, would rather have seen Wittgenstein sitting at the feet of Gurdjieff than studying with Moore and Russell. That was the right place for him, but he missed. Perhaps next time, I mean next life... for him, not for me. For me this is enough, this is the last. But for him, at least once he needs to be in the company of a man like Gurdjieff or Chuang Tzu, Bodhidharma -- but not Moore, Russell, not Whitehead. He was associating with these people, the wrong people. A right man in the company of wrong people, that's what destroyed him.
My experience is, in the right company even a wrong person becomes right, and vice-versa: in a wrong company, even a right person becomes wrong. But this only applies to unenlightened men, right or wrong, both. An enlightened person cannot be influenced. He can associate with anyone -- Jesus with Magdalena, a prostitute; Buddha with a murderer, a murderer who had killed nine hundred and ninety-nine people. He had taken a vow to kill one thousand people, and he was going to kill Buddha too; that's how he came into contact with Buddha.
The murderer's name is not known. The name people gave to
him was Angulimala, which means 'the man who wears a garland of
fingers'. That was his way. He would kill a man, cut off his fingers and
put them on his garland, just to keep count of the number of people he
had killed. Only ten fingers were missing to make up the thousand; in
other words only one man more.... Then Buddha appeared. He was just
moving on that road from one village to another. Angulimala shouted,
So what I said is only applicable to so-called ordinary humanity, it is not applicable to those who are awakened. Wittgenstein can become awakened; he could have become awakened even in this life. Alas, he associated with wrong company. But his book can be of great help to those who are really third-degree insane. If they can make any sense out of it, they will come back to sanity.
Source - Osho Book "Books I have Loved"
Osho on famous people: Annie Besant, Alan Watts, Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Confucius, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Santayana, Machiavelli, Madame Blavatsky, Mahatma Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Buber, Mother Teresa, Nijinsky, Shakuntala Devi, Somerset Maugham, Soren Kierkegaard, Subhash Chandra Bose, Vincent van Gogh, Vinoba Bhave