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Pain, too, is a joy….Have you ever said Yes to a single joy? …then you said Yes, too, to all woe. All things are entangled, ensnared, enamored. If ever you wanted one thing twice, if ever you said “you please me, happiness! Abide, moment!” then you wanted back all. All anew, all eternally, all entangled, ensnared, enamored—oh, then you loved the world. Eternal ones, love it eternally and evermore: and to woe, too, you say: go, but return! For all joy wants—eternity!…You higher men, do learn this, joy wants eternity. Joy wants the eternity of all things, wants deep, wants deep eternity! (Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, IV 19)

 

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Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)

To live right—till the end

The horrible instant in an unblessed death must be the thought: “oh if only I had….Now it’s too late.” Oh if only I had lived right! And the blessed instant must be: “Now it is accomplished!”—But how must one have lived in order to tell oneself this! I think there must be degrees here, too. But I myself, where am I? How far from the good & how close to the lower end! (Wittgenstein, PPO, p.185)

 

A few days before the end of his own life, Wittgenstein said to his student Drury “Isn’t it curious that, although I know I have not long to live, I never find myself thinking about a ‘future life’. All my interest is still on this life and the writing I am still able to do.” (Monk, Duty of Genius, p.580) This seems to link to his view on the alleged immortality of the soul: “Not only is there no guarantee of the temporal immortality of the human soul, that is to say of its eternal survival after death; but, in any case, this assumption completely fails to accomplish the purpose for which it has always been intended.” (TLP, 6.4312).

 

“The last remark of On Certainty was written on 27 April [1951], the day before Wittgenstein finally lost consciousness. The day before that was his sixty-second birthday. He knew it would be his last. When Mrs. Bevan presented him with an electric blanket, saying as she gave it to him: “Many happy returns’, he stared hard at her and replied: ‘there will be no returns.’ He was taken violently ill the next night, after he and Mrs Bevan had returned from their nightly stroll to the pub. When told by Dr. Bevan that he would live only a few more days, he exclaimed ‘Good!’ Mrs. Bevan stayed with him the night of the 28th, and told him that his close friends in England would be coming the next day. Before losing consciousness he said to her: ‘Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.’” (Monk, Duty of Geniusp. 579)

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