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Zen and the Work of Wittgenstein Author(s): Paul Wienpahl Source: Chica g o Review ,

Zen and the Work of Wittgenstein Author(s): Paul Wienpahl Source: Chicago Review, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer, 1958), pp. 67-72 Published by: Chicago Review

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PAULWIENPAHL

ZENAND THEWORKOFWITTGENSTEIN

Ludwig Wittgenstein where

bridge, England,

came

he had gone

to philosophy

to

in

study with

1912 at Cam

Bertrand

Russell

because

of

an

interest

in the

foundations

of mathematics.

In 1922 he published the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, a book

inwhich

theory

powerful

innovations

in semantics and logical

are

removed

followed

from

by

the

a

set

of

mystical

utterances,

foundations

of mathematics.

which

However,

seem

far

it was

the logical and semantical portion

the Vienna Circle, gave birth to logical positivism.

of

the book which,

through

In the 1930's Wittgenstein

lectured at Cambridge. A precipitate

Investigations,

of his thinking during

this time, the Philosophical

was

published

posthumously

another

influential

movement

philosophical

problems

by

in

a

1953. These

in

philosophy,

later

sort of

linguistic

activities

started

the

treatment

of

analysis during

the

course

of which

the

problems

are

supposed

to dissolve

rather

than be

movements

solved. Wittgenstein

for which

his work

dissociated

was

an

himself

inspiration.

from both

Zen Buddhism

developed

in China

in the sixth century

the

a.D.

as an off-shoot

ents

of

the

religion-philosophy

of

of Buddhism.

called

then

longer

ideas.

satori

comes

bothered

Zen

producing

which

Its adher

the

seek

condition

is transcended.

a

enlightenment

The

inwhich

the

in which

to

by

masters

satori

intellect

practitioner

he

medium

methods

is no

of

of

a direct

inter

knowledge

preting

worked

of

them

out

the mondo,

speeding

I

should

the

things,

through

have

as

so

characteristic

a

form

process

like

to

of

of

call

such

at

rapid

thought

attention

question-answer

that

to

aims

it is suddenly

some

transcended.

resemblances

between

thework

of Zen masters

and that of Wittgenstein.

by

first

noting

some

general

features

of

each

and

some

quotations.

Toward

the

necessity

for

one

end

of

thing

the

Tractatus

Wittgenstein

to happen

because

another

I shall do

then

turning

so

to

wrote:

"A

has

happened

67

does not exist.There

is only

logical necessity"

(TLP,

6.37).1 "At

the

that

basis

the

of

the whole

so-called

laws

modern

view

of

nature

are

phenomena"

(TLP,

6.371).

"The

of

the world

lies

the

sense

explanations

of

the world

the

of

illusion

natural

must

lie

outside theworld. In theworld everything is as it is and happens

as it does happen." "The

(TLP, 6.41) "The riddle does not exist"

(TLP,

6.5).

solution of

the problem

of

life is seen

in the

vanishing

whom

of

after

this

long

problem.

doubting

sense

(Is

the

this

sense

not

say wherein

this

Statements

such

consisted?

be

as

these

may

not

of

)"

the

life

(TLP,

taken

to

reason

became

6.521

why

clear,

).

indicate

indicate

men

to

could

that Witt

genstein,

as

state of mind

a result

of

his

(in contrast

logical

investigations,

to a theory)

inwhich

was

close

to

a

he had attained

such

that

detachment

all

the

dissolved

lies

which

in

the

The

of

from

of

the

theories

philosophy

and

concepts

that

he

believed

they

of

or

in

our

is

of

problems

with

were

For

nor

the world

him,

in

we

"solved"

that

because

is, the

had

the world

essences,

detachment.

in

the world

give

with

with

the

which

so-called

sense

realm

but

happen

realm

neither

a Platonic

its

seek

structure,

to

deal

seem

to

the

supposedly

concepts

necessity

concepts,

language,

experiences.

the

of

necessity

our

with

to

conventions

the

which

necessity

things

due

real world

real world

languages.

The

is really

concepts,

instead

then

therefore,

of

seen

and

seeing

this

being

to

do

be

not

caught-up

not

real

exist.

enables

one

to

in

it. Differences

but

conceptual.

get

beyond

between

Philosophic

this

realm

things

problems,

are

In 1922 Wittgenstein

left philosophy. When

it, his

later work

consisted

in

the

bringing

ment

to

about the insight which

concepts.

(You

cannot

development

frees themind

just

tell

people

he came back

to

of

a method

for

from

its attach

that

philosophic

problems

A

our

are

not

real.)

picture

language

held

and

us captive.

language

He

wrote:

And

we

could

seemed

to repeat

not

get

it to

us

outside

it, for

inexorably.

it lay

in

(PI,

115)

1 Quotations

(London:

ford:

spectively.

Basil

Kegan

from

Wittgenstein

1922)

Paul,

Blackwell,

1953).

 

are

from

and

from

the

These

books

the

Philosophical

are

Tractatus

abbreviated

Logico-Philosphicus

Investigations

TLP

and

PI

(Ox

re

68

For

the clarity

that we

are aiming

at is indeed

complete

clarity.

But

this

simply means

The

philosophy

it

is no

Instead,

examples

longer

we

now

that the philosophical

is the one

Iwant

tormented

to.?The

by

demonstrate

problems

should

me

completely

of

disappear.

doing

so that

real discovery

when

that makes

capable

stopping

peace,

one

questions

that gives

which

a method,

by

philosophy

bring

examples;

itself

and

(difficulties

in question.?

the

series

of

eliminated),

can be broken

off. Problems

are solved

not

a single problem.

(PI,

133)

The

method

consisted

in

constructing

or

calling

attention

to

examples

of

linguistic

mind

into noticing

behavior

in

something which

such

a way

as

to

shock

had not been noticed

the

and

thereby

to free it from what might

be called the bind of concep

tions.

think

To

that,

use

an

when

example

I order

understands

the order by

of Wittgenstein's

someone

to

bring

a person

a yellow

imagining something yellow

is

likely

flower,

to

he

and them

chooses

hears

the

the words

flower

that

according

to

his

image.

To

say

selects

the

flower

does

not

sound

to give

him

the

order,

"Imagine

that

he

just

and

reasonable.

a yellow

Yet

suppose

"

Iwere

patch?

a yellow

helps

are.

How

patch

to* show

other

does he understand that order?Does

and

that

then

things

imagine

do not

one??A

have

to be

procedure

the way

Wittgenstein

the

Zen

had

master

of

inducing

it

attained

calls

others

in

the mondos

said

that

and

"There

koans.

is not

he first imagine

such

as

this

we

state

think

of

they

mind

and

he

had

resembles

added

that

method,

(PI,

In

words,

a

satori,

which

be

resembling

worked

out

the methods

Wittgenstein

though

that which

a method

of

also

It might

a philosophic

there are indeed methods,

like different

therapies"

133).

Anyway

in both Wittgenstein's

state

of mind

and

in satori

one

is not

There

bothered

bothered

are,

then,

by

the

questions

general

states of mind

and methods

about

similarities

"the meaning

between

it all."

characteristic

of

for

inducing

them which

can be

noted

There

when

Wittgenstein's

is also

a

similarity

work

to

be

and Zen

noted

are viewed

the

in the

when

matter

large.

of

the

respective

Wittgenstein

of

relational

roots

of Zen

didwhat

thinking

and Wittgenstein's

he did in connection with

logic,

that

is,

logic

in which

the

is considered.

the development

subject-predicate

69

analysis of propostitions

source

characterized

of

view

is abandoned.

A

view

abandonment

This

of

analysis

the world,

was

a main

has

of

the

substance-attribute

thought.

the

which

Western

W e s t e r n

logic

is

possible

of

metaphysical

the

analogue

relation

of

substance-attribute

things,

or

at

least

the

realization

that

many

views

are

possible.2 Now

a central part of the Buddhist

thought from which

Zen

beings

springs

are

Buddhist

B u d d h i s t

is

the

thought

does

not

notion

be

have

to

of

non-ego.

Both

things

ego-less,

that

is, without

and

substance.

sentient

The

the

substance-attribute

view

of

things.

Wittgenstein

once

said,

"What

is troubling

us

is the

tendency

to believe

the Cat's

that themind

is like a little man within."3 A writer

Yawn,

a Zen

periodical,

wrote:

"Ego

is that

something

in

which

may

be termed the supervisor within

oneself.

It is like the

king

everyone

or

the master

of

a concern.

has this supervisor within

Human

beings

himself. Buddha

believe

denied

man

has

an

ego

or

a

supervisor

within

himself."4

Buddha

that

that

said,

"And it is impossible that a being possessed of right understanding

should

of

Let

regard

me

now

to

be

sayings

anything

place

found

from

as

some

in Zen

contexts.

an Ego."5

remarks

writings.

On

was

the

clarity

simply

of Wittgenstein

I

other

am

master.

aware

hand,

the

a Zen

of

I am

we

means

are

that

aiming

the

at

beside

some

in

trying

indeed

those

the risk

not

lifting

to

suggest

Wittgenstein

that Wittgenstein

clarity.

said,

But

"For

this

is

complete

philosophical

2 It may,

in

stance

cerned

that

one

to

seeing

can

of

course,

be

argued

that

the

there

thinking

that

analysis

is no

giving

up

goes

is not.

of

into

I

the

it.

do

view

relational

urge

that

lead

to

either

the

an

logic

or

in

that

there

subject-predicate

abandonment

is

of

or

the

which

there

of

substance-attribute

propositions

concept

am

I

think,

is

not

of

of

not

however,

sub

con

the

only

the

world

when

the

the

one

old

turns

style

is

to metaphysical

or

that

view

identity

is

between

view.

questions,

whether

is

of

the

one's

case

treatment

because

Nor

a

and

of

source

these

of

of

substance-attribute

that

there

of

of Wittgenstein.

the

This

subject-predicate

I

the

am

doctrine

only

analysis.

no-substance

am I suggesting

giving is a resemblance.

an

substance-attribute

the

suggesting

that

there

be

the

up

8 Wittgenstein's

remark

was

reported

to me

by

Mr.

John

Wisdom

of

Cam

bridge.

4 Cat's Yawn,

I, No.

5 Buddha's

ed. Dwight

statement

Goddard

1 (July 1940), 4.

is from

the

Pali

sources

(New York: E. P. Dutton,

reproduced

1938), p.

in A

38.

Buddhist

Bible,

70

problems should completely

disappear"

(PI, 133). Of

amaster

it

is reported:

when

asked

what

he was

doing

sitting

cross-legged

quietly,

Yao-shan

thinking."

thinking."

thinking?

" asked

plete

clarity"

and

said,

you go

"Thinking

onwith

Yao-shan:

"How do

a visitor.

the Zen

notion

of

of

that which

thinking

thatwhich

By

not-thinking."6

is beyond

beyond

"Com

is

no-mind

or mindlessness

Wittgenstein

said that philosophical problems should complete

ly

disappear. The

Zen master,

when

asked

a

philosophical

problem,

indicating

beyond

may

that

the

is a problem.

A

to

answered:

the One,

garment

real

reply

there

with

is no

nonsense

or

a

seeming

irrelevancy,

trying

to get

the questioner

makes

it

appear

that

there

"All

things

return

To

Seiju

which

I had

the master

amonkish

"The

stopping

problem

and

intellectualizing

monk

but where

"When

Iwas

once

does

which

is

the

weighed

one

which

asked

the One

Chao-chou,

return?

of

in the pro^vince seven

that

makes

made

kin."7 Wittgenstein:

me

capable

of

discovery

doing philosophy when

Iwant

to" (PI, 133). "What

is your

aim

in philosophy?To

shew

the fly

the way

out of

the flybottle"

(PI, 309).

"Before

you

have

studied

rivers

longer

had

are

rivers:

mountains

enlightenment,

while

and

you

rivers

mountains

Zen,

mountains

are

studying

are mountains

and

it mountains

are

no

no

longer

are

rivers;

but

once

again

once

you

mountains

have

and

rivers

us,

lies

for

are

rivers."8

"Philosophy

nor

simply

puts

anything.?Since

explain.

everything

For

what

also

give

before

and

neither

to view

explains

is of

there

no

deduces

to

everything

is hidden,

the

name

is nothing

open

example,

interest

to us. One

might

'philosophy'

to what

is possible

before

all new

discoveries

and

inventions"

(PI,

126).

From

the Diamond

Sutra:9

"While

the Tathagata,

in his

teach

? D.

T.

Barrett

Suzuki,

Zen

Buddhism:

(New York: Doubleday,

7 Suzuki,

p.

100.

Selected

Writings

1956), p. 208.

8 Suzuki,

9 This

p.

Sutra

ence

to

it by

xvi.

was

Zen

written

writers

before

is frequent.

the

development

The

translation

of D.

of

Zen

T.

is from

Suzuki,

Buddhism,

Goddard,

ed.William

but

p.

refer

105.

71

ing,

constantly

makes

disciples should keep

use

of

inmind

conceptions

and

ideas

about

them,

the unreality of all such conceptions

and

of

blance

of

So

no

ideas. They

them

should

recall

that

the Tathagata,

in making

in the

As

use

is

in explaining

of

a raft

further

use

arbitrary

given

that

after

the Dharma

always

uses

them

is of

use

the river

only

to

cross

is crossed,

a river.

it should

of

things

enlightenment."

this way;

as senseless,

and

about

in

when

them.

climbed

(He

up

resem

raft

discarded.

the

be

these

conceptions

things

should

under

climb

speak

must

be wholly

"My

stands

ed

throw

out

me

up

as one

attains

are

elucidatory

recognizes

them

them,

on

them,

ladder,

after

he

Wittgenstein:

he

must

on

who

he

has

so

to

it.) He

propositions

finally

through

over

has

away

the

surmount

these propositions;

then he

sees

the world

rightly"

(TLP,

6.54).

Tractatus

7 has been read differently,

"Whereof

one

cannot

speak,

thereof

one

but

it may

must

be

also fit here:

silent."

f

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