David Auerbach on literature, tech, film, etc.

Schiller and Wittgenstein

If you’re looking for proto-Wittgenstein parallels from the era of German Idealism, this one seems pithy enough to me:

Warum kann der lebendige Geist dem Geist nicht erscheinen?
Spricht die Seele, so spricht ach! schon die Seele nicht mehr.

Why can’t the living spirit manifest itself to the spirit?
If the soul speaks, alas, it is no longer the soul that speaks.

(Schiller, “Sprache”)

There’s a thread straight through to Hofmannsthal and Wittgenstein (early and late).


  1. That’s pretty great. And yet LW says that the best picture of the human soul is the human face.

  2. nun, dies hier ist wohl eine arkadische landschaft an bäumen, büschen u grashalmen, die ich des öfteren aufsuchen werde, würzige luft zu atmen…

  3. The face does not speak…it shows!

  4. yet there is a statement from Wittgenstein in which he says that he was not so convinced about Schillers contributions to philosophy…W says Schiller has had the understanding but he did not make something out of it, developed somethign out of this insight….I tend to agree with W here, myself not such a big fan of Schiller…
    that’s in volume 8 of the suhrkampedition page 543 (and elsewhere)

  5. No, I’m not a Schiller fan myself; if we can get pica in here I’m sure she would have something to say about Schiller falling prey to the “Oldest Programme for a System of German Idealism.” I feel that things are always too easy in Schiller. (Likewise with Adorno.) And so the promise of this little epigram isn’t fulfilled.

Leave a Reply

© 2024 Waggish

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑