Chapter 5: Self-Examination
Chapter 5 Self-Examination Studying himself Wittgenstein devoted much of his life to the study of himself, not out of any narcissistic motive but rather as a means of keeping a check on how he was living, thinking and most importantly, attaining, in so far as this was possible, the high standards which he had set for himself.1 He was after all a keen observer who in later life described what this involved: To observe is not the same as to look or view. One observes in order to see what one would not see if one did not observe. (ROC, 61e, par. 326) Observing himself and recording his findings in writing was important for Wittgenstein and was linked to his need for ‘confessional’ admissions about who and what he was. Some of the earliest records of this tendency is to be found in his letters to Paul Englemann with whom he began a cor- respondence during his time as a soldier in World War I. In one of his let- ters he describes himself as being ‘far too bad to be able to theorize about myself ’2 and tells Englemann that one reason for writing to him was because ‘I have a lot of things inside me which I would like to write about 1 See Descartes on this study of himself in Discourse 1 (Discourse on Method) where he wrote: ‘[…] having spent several years studying in the book of the world and seeking to gain experience, I resolved one...
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