Silence

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein

A shot from a small piece where poets pick their favorite photographs in the Paris Review. (Speaking of which, I read a few days ago that George Plimpton was at Bobby Kennedy’s side when the candidate was shot. Did Plimpton ever do anything boring aside from brushing his teeth? I’m assuming he did it the way the rest of us do.) Ann Lauterbach, on this picture of Wittgeinstein:

The Wittgenstein photograph is unsettling; it’s as if he can barely see out from his mind’s fervent activity. There’s something eerie about looking back at him, into his uncomfortable, intelligent eyes, and thinking about the silence that every photograph compels us to acknowledge. I think about this silence often, and the indifference of images to it, and the ways in which captions try, but ultimately fail, to undermine it. Wittgenstein thought a lot about the relationship of silence to words . . .

As did Heidegger. Images as far more akin than writing (and thinking) to the silence Wittgenstein pondered. Poetry gets closer to it than any other form of writing. “Indifference” puzzles me: “The indifference of images to this silence.”

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