Wittgenstein on Twitter

January 12, 2011

Last year, among several other steps I took to enrich my life, I acquired a Twitter account. I didn’t think I’d be using it very much, but I quickly found a few interesting news sources to follow, even got a handful of followers myself, and once I found I could link Twitter to Facebook it became my favorite way of writing new status-type posts. I actually enjoy the challenge of fitting messages into the 140 character limit, watching my remaining-character count – easily visible, I was happy to find – go up and down as I edit myself, sometimes going pretty far into the red until I make up my mind just what the essential minimum is that I want to get across. I learned to use bit.ly to compress URLs so I can fit links of all kinds into my character-allotment. For more expansive communications of course I have this blog – which is linked to both Twitter and Facebook, so all my friends and “followers” can link back here whenever I publish anything.

But the most surprising delight that awaited me on Twitter was the chance to follow Ludwig Wittgenstein. That’s right, it appears a certain Zeph Auerbach has made up a batch of tweets, all drawn from the journals and other writings of the great philosopher, and sends them out at the rate of two to three a day. A lot of them are fairly trivial – complaints about  working conditions and his treatment by colleagues and the general public – but a good amount of his real thought comes through as well. The latest “WittTweet” is a gem:

I run COUNTER to Socrates! Instead of looking for the ESSENCE of something, I just look for OVERLAPPING LIKENESSES. (1933, aged 44)




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