[lit-ideas] Re: E Mail and Schopenhauer's "The Art of Being ProvedRight"

  • From: John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 05:04:38 -0500

My last two attempts didn't go through. Here they are again:

The following addresses had delivery problems:

        Persistent Transient Failure: Delivery time expired
        Delivery last attempted at 16 May 2004 12:00:43 +0000


Reporting-MTA: dns; comcast.net
Arrival-Date: 16 May 2004 12:00:42 +0000

Final-Recipient: rfc822; lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Action: failed
Status: 4.4.7 Unable to contact host for 1 days,
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; Persistent Transient Failure: Delivery time expired
Last-Attempt-Date: 16 May 2004 12:00:43 +0000


Re: [lit-ideas] Re: E Mail and Schopenhauer's "The Art of Being Proved 
John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sun, 16 May 2004 07:00:28 -0500


I've been thinking about "schweigen" lately.

It's a verb!

(Sometimes I'm a little slow.)

But in English, it's NOT a verb.  I can't seem to come up with an 
equivalent English verb, only English nouns that can be used WITH 
English verbs that convey some of "schweigen."  In German, an action you 
can perform is the action of being quiet.  This is something one DOES. I 
don't know how to say this in English as directly; in English it is 
always indirect; one "keeps" silence, or one "remains" silent. But 
keeping and remaining are the English verbs, not "silence."  Silence is 
a noun.  It's a thing, not an action.  There is a transitive verb 
"silence" but it's what we do TO something, not something we do just as 
something we do. But in German, we can "silence" intransitively; we can 
just do it as something we do, without doing it TO anything.
Whether or not one is religious, or whether one is a theist, or whether 
one is a mystic, in German one can still "silence" intransitively.  But 
in English one cannot do this! No wonder there is some "looseness" in 
whether this could be interpreted as a semi-mystical utterance on W's 
part; it's not just a question of W's religious roots and value of 
silence. German gives one permission to do something that English 
doesn't give similar permission for. Some of the difficulty is the lack 
of a comparable intransitive English verb.

Richard Henninge wrote:

> . . . .
> Even the last line, with its Arabian proverb, returns us to the German 
> verb
> (schweigen) encountered in Wittgenstein's final sentence from the 
> Tractatus:
> "Am Baume des Schweigens hängt seine Frucht der Friede." "Upon the 
> tree of
> remaining silent hangs its fruit--peace."
> Wittgenstein: 7. Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man 
> schweigen.
> "Of that of which one cannot speak, of that one must remain silent."

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