joi, 8 septembrie 2011

Wittgenstein: The Meaning of Life


To pray is to think about the meaning of life
L. Wittgenstein

What could be understood about the act of praying? First of all, that it is an act of thinking, though a long tradition of separating religion from philosophy or science would say the contrary.

The same tradition and the religious view itself would say that to pray means to dedicate yourself to an invocation of a supreme being called God. But this explanation is the outcome of a clash between two sorts of language. The description of a communicational statement as the meeting between a speaker and his audience is inappropriate for approaching the prayer that it was not intended to be heard by a person like all of those we are accustomed to interact in our lives.

Moreover, to question farther if the person we pray to is real or not only continues the inadequacy between the common communicational language and the language used by prayers.

The language of prayers only incidentally supposed the representational images of the god they address to. Primarily, they represent the act of praying itself. The position took by the body in the act of praying weights on the representational power of the prayer, even if it is spoken without any specific gesture.

 It is the bent of the body that supplies the first representational movement of the language used in prayers. To qualify this position as a humiliating one is also a secondary aspect of a prayer. It is deduced from what primary is revealed by the life of the body. The always extending life of the body is brought to itself in a way that ceases to say something about the body itself. On the contrary, many prayers are meant to place the man outside of any thought about his body.

It seems the life of the body can show itself only by a concrete retreat from what it is in its daily manifestation. And such retreat could be equated to the act of thinking, because any speculation about the meaning of thought should inquire in the fields where it is not there, as the field of language, of personal creeds, or the great domains of natural objects. In spite of the custom of consecrating a definite place to thought in the analysis of human behavior, it is always reached through a former detachment from a concrete object or behavior.

The prayer rests as an act of the prayer upon the life of the body. As a consequence of the uncommon position of the body, it is not exactly focused on the life of the body, but on the life embodied.

The prayer does not transmit something to another person, but all the images, words, and gestures expose the restless thought about life. On its turn, the restless thought purports all the images, words or gestures to some precise standpoints that can be counted as the forms of tackling the meaning of life. They are standpoints for the uninterrupted exercise of prayer (since there is prescribed the endless prayer), exactly what it needs for be accomplished as an act of language who never has a really final point as an informative statement has.