Tuesday, January 24, 2012

【听写】萨尔曼·拉什迪:革命与写作障碍


本文是拉什迪在09年在纽约The Moth的一篇演讲稿,觉得很幽默就听写了下来。

最近因为在印度发生的一些事件,拉什迪的媒体关注度又有所提升。鉴于此,为避免被google到本文的极端分子追杀,就不提供原录音链接,且避免出现任何英文的拉什迪或他的某部著名作品名的表述,见谅。

本文英语难度不大,拉什迪虽是在印度出生,基本也没有口音。但其中有好些专有名词和西班牙语不容易弄清楚,于是试着加点注释吧。

但翻译就太难了,比如说文中有这么一句,"Nicaragua.... this tiny place where everybody f**ked everyone, in all sorts of different ways some of which were sexual. " 要贴切地翻译这里f**k的一语双关,太考验中文说脏话的水平了。

============
I was not always as you see me now. At one point, I was considerably younger. I'd like you to help me now to become a little younger in your eyes. Twenty-three years, that may be really really long time for some of you but try. Imagine, imagine the years falling away from me, the hair grows on my head, my body becomes lean and tough, kind of like Brad Pitt.

So I ask you to come back with me in 1986. In 1986, that's an impossibly distant time, I was sitting in London and writing a novel, and I have to tell you that it was not going well. I wrote hundreds of pages, and I did not like them. I was, as they say, 'blocked', and didn't know what to do about it. So I thought, 'What do you do if you are blocked when you are writing a novel?' I thought, 'I know, you go to a revolution.'

Now as it happened, I'd been invited to a revolution. People are not always offered invitations of revolutions, but in my case, it was in fact so, and the reason for that in fact was a PEN (1) festival. I have come to New York for a PEN festival in the spring of 1986 under the presidency of Normal Mailer. And at, of all places, the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, I met the woman who invited me to the revolution. It was a woman called Rosario Murillo, from Nicaragua, who was, in her own word, the companera (2) of Daniel Ortega, then the president of Nigaragua and the leader, of course, of the Frente Sandinista (3), which had recently taken power in that country.
(1) PEN: 国际笔会
(2) Companera: 西班牙语“伴侣”
(3) Frente Sandinista: 桑地诺民族解放阵线

She was surrounded, I remember vividly, by a group of the most beautiful bodyguards I'd ever seen. They were male, they were oiled, they had very fancy rubber-wrought shades, and... I don't even like guys, but they were very, very desirable, unlike Rosario Murillo, who was not. But she said, 'Please come, and experience our revolution for yourself.' But at the time I said, 'No, I can't do that because I have a book to write.' I went home and discovered I couldn't write the book, so I called her up and said, 'You know that revolution you were offering me? Could I have second thoughts and come?' Because I thought, 'If you write a book and it's not going well, why don't you go and look at the lives of people who are really having a bad time? And you can immediately feel superior, and come home and finish your work.'

So for these literary reasons, I went to Nicaragua. What I didn't realize was that the person who had invited me was the most hated woman in Nicaragua, the companera of Daniel Ortega, universally loathed. And it was kind of a preemptive loathing, because people didn't realize that the thing for which she really ought to have been loathed she hadn't yet done. Many years after this, her daughter, Zoilamerica, accused her boyfriend - Rosario Murillo's boyfriend, Daniel Ortega, of having raped her. And Rosario Murillo's response was to side with Daniel Ortega against her daughter. The reasons, motives for this was entirely political because ever since then, she has had Daniel Ortega's genitalia very firmly in her grasp, and he has to do everything she says. So that's the real reason to hate her, but that, you see, it shows that the people of Nicaragua have a very elastic sense of time - they can hate people things they're going to do in the future.

Anyway, so there I was, with the most hated woman in Nicaragua. And people looked at me oddly where I said she had invited me, and it did cause some problems, but it had some advantages. And one of the advantages was that I got incredible access. I could go and have dinner with everybody who was running the country and they will talk very, very freely and the trouble is, I knew if I put a tape recorder on the table, they would not talk so freely. So I had to invent diarrhea, and it's gotta have diary with a sort of upset attached. And I would have to at these dinners upend myself to go to the bathroom and scribble like crazy so I could write down everything everybody had said without seeming to spoil the evening.

And I discovered many things. I discovered that the three different groups that formed the Frente Sandinista deeply detested each other. There was the Ortega group which was the guerrillas who had come down from the hills who were savage and barbaric and uneducated but they had all the guns, and then there was the kind of Maoist - Ho Chi-Minh really - group which believed in raising the consciousness of the peasants, and then there was the kind of a middle class group of writers and intellectuals and business men, and other useless people. And they all detested each other but what they also did was they all went to bed with each other, and they also went to bed with all the leaders of the opposition.

This was something I subsequently discovered but I finally wrote something about this when I was interviewed, here in the New York, for the Interview Magazine by Bianca Jagger from Nicaragua. And every time I mention somebody, whether from the left or the right, Bianca would say, 'Oh yes, I used to go out with him.' And I realized that she was the person who really ought to be writing about Nicaragua, because it is this tiny place where everybody f**ked everyone, in all sorts of different ways some of which were sexual.

So I learned all this, you see, and had a lot of very good food. Well, I did, but I don't want to underestimate what was happening there. The country was in the stage of genuine devastation. Because the United State, a large country to the north, had formed an opinion that Nicaragua, which contained a population considerably smaller than the population of the tri-state area, posed a serious threat of safety in the United States and therefore needed to be crushed. And some of the effects of the crushing were very striking. For instance, people in Nicaragua got up very early in the morning to do their shopping because the prices went up at lunch time, and if you didn't do your shopping then, the prices went up again at sort of five o'clock in the afternoon. So the inflation rate was like that. It was that the prices would rise twice a day. And also, as we discovered, if you had a tractor, if you were a farmer and your tractor needed to be taken to the garage, the cost of servicing a tractor was a cow. This of course, if you were a farmer, there were diminishing return involved in this because you'd end up with just the tractor and no cows, but you couldn't eat the tractor unless it was a Trabant (4), of course.
(4) Trabant: 东德汽车品牌

So it was genuinely terrible, especially as, on top of all the calamity of the war, there was the calamity of the earthquake which had destroyed so much of the center of Managua. So here there was a city center where there wasn't a center. You know, there would be these streets, big, esplanade-like streets but no buildings because they had all fallen in the earthquake and it gave the government problems. For instance, the ministry of the interior, they had to use the few buildings that had survived. So the ministry of the interior was in a supermarket, and you could actually see the supermarket signs still up there on the outside of the ministry of interior.

And the ministry of culture, where I went to meet the great poet Ernesto Cardenal who was the minister of culture. The ministry of culture was located in the home of the formal mistress of the former dictator, Somoza, in Hope Somoza's house. And actually Ernesto Cardenal's office was in Hope Somoza's bathroom. So we were sitting there in her bathroom and he talked about liberation, and how his presence in this bathroom indicated that the country had been liberated. He said this without irony - Ernesto Cardenal was not strong on irony. There was a point I remember seeing him in a literary festival where he claimed that Nicaragua had become the first country on Earth to nationalize poetry. Some soviet-hating Russian stood up and said, (此处他模仿了东欧腔的英语) 'Sekond naition.' Anyway, so Ernesto Cardenal, there he was, in Hope Somoza's bathroom, and he told me that it was his dream. It was almost already fully realized that everybody in Nicaragua should be a poet. He said, "Almost everybody is, but I'm going to complete the task." And to complete the task, he had set up poetry workshops in villages all across the country so that the campesinos (5), the villagers, could be taught how to write poetry, and he taught them that they should write from their hearts and not worry too much about things like form. They should speak about their lives in the most personal and emotional way, and, 'As examples,' he said, 'we are giving them, showing them the work of great American poets.' I said, 'Which ones?' He said, 'Marianne Moore and Walt Whitman'. And I thought, 'Those are two of the most complicated poets in the world.' So I said, 'If you are teaching them how to write simply and you are teaching them Marianne Moore and Walt Whitman, are those the right poets to be choosing?' And he said, 'No, no, you should not worry. We are teaching them the work of Walt Whitman and Marianne Moore in simplified form.' And these two were said entirely without irony, as well as his statement that there were no political prisoners in Cuba. So, you see, it was a complex thing in the world of the mind of Nicaragua.
(5) Campesinos: 西班牙语“农民”

And there I was, chitchatting with artists and intellectuals about this. And I thought, 'This is not what I should be doing. I should be going to the war. Take me to the war! I've come here to see the war. The Contra (6) must be somewhere. They are up there somewhere. I must go to find the war.' They didn't like that very much, because they were worried that I could get hurt and that would be bad publicity. And my translator said to me, 'You know, Bono's here', she said. 'And he hasn't gone to the war.' I said, 'O really, is that right?' And then she said a wonderful thing. She said, 'Please, who is Bono?' This was before the Unforgettable Fires (6) so I guess she could be excused.
(6) Contra: 反叛军
(7) The Unforgettable Fires: U2乐队专辑名。U2的Bono此时恰好也在访问尼加拉瓜

Anyway, they didn't want me to get hurt but eventually I yelled at them so much that they began to relent. So I read in the newspaper a terrible story about a road in the north of Nicaragua near the border where a land mine had blown up a busload of school children, and fifty-odd school children had been killed just the previous week. And so I thought, 'You know, I'm gonna be a war correspondent. I'm going to be a war correspondent if it kills me.' And actually, no, I didn't think that. I thought, 'as long as it doesn't kill me.' But I wanted to go to see this road, so I managed to persuade them to send me, so off I went.

And eventually I was in the back of a truck, being driven towards the war zone and actually, you know, it was getting really a little bit scary, at near the end of the war. And I found myself on the road. They said to me, 'this is the road where the landmine went off.' And I thought, 'Oh.' And I said to the to Sandinista soldiers next to me. I said, 'Is there a way to, you know, to tell if there are landmines in the road?' And he said, 'Yes.' 'Yes,' with relief, I said, 'What is the way?' He said, 'there is a very big bang.' So that wasn't at all what I wanted to hear. So as we went on, we suddenly found ourselves going into woods. The woods got darker, thicker. 'The woods were lovely, dark and deep.' (8) But actually I was more and more and more frightened as we got into them. And suddenly exactly what my greatest nightmare took place, which was that when we turned a corner, there was a tree across the road. And I thought, 'Shit!' You know, 'We are now dead people.' There was a Contra ambush, and we were sitting ducks and we've had it. And the soldiers on the truck thought so too, really, so they leapt off with their AK-47s and they did all the kind of things people do with AK-47s. They ran around like crazy and I sat on the truck and quaked, essentially, thinking, 'I've got a novel to finish, you know. Please, not now, I need to go home and write a final draft.' And, you know, the amazing thing was, that it was just that the tree had fallen across the road. There was no ambush. That was an accident.
(8) 罗伯特·弗罗斯特的

So I'd got to leave. I came back and I took the first plane out, and went back to London in my study. And I thought, 'Hah. Home. Safe. Nothing bad will ever happen again.' And also, I knew exactly how to write the novel now. All the problems had disappeared, and I sat down and wrote the final draft of 撒旦诗篇. And I discovered that not only landmines could make a big bang, but sometimes books could make them, too. But the great benefit was, that I cured my writing block.

Thank you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

【长文慎入】哲♂学科普及英语听写练习一则


每周都听的Podcast中,有一档BBC广播4台的节目,叫做Great Lives。每周大约半小时,以一个“伟大人生”为主题,主持人邀请一位嘉宾(通常是英国的文化界名人),一位专家证人(一般是相关领域专家),共同讨论。 上个月13日的节目中,讨论的是路德维希·维特根施坦的生平轶事,在我这个哲♂学门外汉看来,尤其有趣。

于是今夜花了五六个小时,一边喝着误买的40度的朗姆酒,一边将这段节目听写了下来。本来想翻译的,但想想听写都这么麻烦,还是只贴个英文吧。

原节目可以在这里在线收听,音频文件地址则可在这里下载。

本文大概类似字幕,用来配合收听。话说有很多字幕组在做诸如国外名校课程视频之类的字幕,其实这个也可以延伸到国外同样优秀的大量周刊/月刊类广播电视节目上——比起需要系统学习的课程,这种或许更简单有趣呢。

音频中出现的声音:
Matthew Parris (P),主持人 ;
Raymond Tallis (T),嘉宾,作家,哲学家,医生;
Ray Monk (M),“专家证人”,哲学教授;
 (以下是历史录音中出现的声音)
Joan Bevans (B),维特根斯坦的医生的夫人;
Bertland Russell (R),这个不用介绍了吧。



以下是全文。有若干听不懂的地方,都用一串星号代替了,以及可能有不少听错的地方,都敬请读者指正。

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P: Our great live today is that of one of the most intriguing and misunderstood, or, ununderstood figures of the 20th century, who brought despair into the young life of a philosophy undergraduate at Cambridge -- me. In 1951, Joan Bevan's husband told her he was bringing someone home to meet her, someone rather unusual.

B: He warned me to be on my best behaviour, because the man coming was different from anyone he or I had ever met. He had a thin face, gray curly hair, piercing blue eyes -- he was extremely handsome. And he made striking gestures with his hands when he was thinking or talking.

P: Raymond Tallis, who is she talking about, and why have you chosen him?

T: She's taking about the great philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, probably one of the two greatest philosophers of the last century, the other one being Martin Heidegger. His philosophy illuminated every aspect of his life. It wasn't something he did. It's something he was. He was a thinker who was concerned, as Bertland Russell said, not to win an argument, but really to find how things are. He had the intellectual passion as nobody else has, and as such, to me, he is a remarkable role model.

P: Let me introduce my guest properly: he is Professor Raymond Tallis, a philosphyer and writer, who is until recently a physician and clinical scientist. His latest book is Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity. I'm sorry about the 'Raymond'. That's because we are fortunate to be joined today by Ray Monk, professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton, and the author of Ludwig Wittgenstein: the Duty of Genius, the acclaimed biography that's been credited with transforming Wittgenstein into a human being. Ray, how do you feel about Wittgenstein after living with him as if he were for so long? Do you feel to know him? Do you feel you like him?

M: I admire him hugely. He is in my opinion the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, and my admiration for him extends to Wittgenstein as a person as well as a philosopher. I admire his single-mindedness, his intensity, his integrity. My only doubt about him, I mean, on the personal level, is I don't know he would like me very much. His standards were very high and I would have been terrified often.

P: Some questions follow, some further questions, Ray, but first the drill. Listeners have already gathered and I've been calling you, Professor Monk, Ray, and you, Professor Tallis, Raymond, and I've brought a whistle. Wittgenstein can be very abstruse. He totally stymied me as an undergraduate. So I brought the whistle and I never dare to bring it to philosophy lectures in university, and, doing our listeners a slight discourtesy of assuming some of as dim as me, I intend to blow the whistle whenever we start to go in too deep, because we'll never explain Wittgenstein's whole philosophy in half an hour, but we may hope to learn a little bit about his life. So a blast like this [whistle] means that we quit the philosophy, and carry on with the life, which brings my first question, Ray. Talk us through his extraordinary family background. Well, where and when was he born?

M: He was born in 1889 in Vienna, into an extraordinarily wealthy family. His father, Karl Wittgenstein, more or less owned the iron and steel industry of the Habsberg Empire, and was fabulously wealthy. And it was a family in which expectations of intellectual achievement and social achievement were extremely high, and were felt keenly by his siblings. No less than three of his brothers committed suicide. Ludwig Wittgenstein himself said that he, many times, thought of committing suicide, and these thoughts, probably, only left him in the last half of his life. But the family home was also a terrific center for the intellectual and artistic elite of Vienna. If they had a musical evening, Brahms would attend. They knew, personally, all the great painters of this period, Kokoschka, Klimt, and so on. His sister was a great friend of Freud. This was a tremendous period of Viennese cultural life, and the Wittgenstein family were in right at the center of it.

P: One sees the tragedy, Raymond, and one sees the intensity. Do you also think there was any happiness in his childhood?

T: There were times when he seemed to be very happy, when he was completely absorbed in doing things.

P: He made a sewing machine out of bits and pieces that actually worked, didn't he?

M: Yes, he did. He was very....

P: When he was ten.

T: Huh, when he was ten.

P: And an unlikelihood upon unlikelihood, he was at school with Hitler.

M: Yes, he was, for a short while, at the Realschule in Linz. They were the same age. They were born in few days of one another, Hitler and Wittgenstein. But Hitler, I think, was a year behind because he wasn't very good at school.

T: And he was in the year below Wittgenstein.

M: There is a reference in Mein Kampf to a Jewish boy at school, and many people speculated that this was Wittgenstein.

P: How Jewish was Wittgenstein?

M: Well, his family ware brought up in complete isolation from the Jewish community in Vienna, which had a very strong and influential Jewish community. They never went to a synagogue, but he counted as Jewish under the Nuremberg laws because three of his grandparents were Jewish. So under the Nuremberg laws he was Jewish, which was an issue for him in the thirties.

P: How did he end up in England, Raymond?

T: Well, by a rather odd route. His first port to go was Manchester, where he studied aeronautic engineering. And then he got very interested in the mathematical basis of aeronautic engineering. And then he got very interested the logical basis of mathematics.

P: Wittgenstein went to Cambridge in 1911, and introduced himself to Bertland Russell.

R: He was queer, and his notion seemed to me odd, so that for a whole term I could not make up my mind whether he was a man of genius, or merely an eccentric. At the end of his first term in Cambridge he came to me and said, 'Will you please tell me, whether I am a complete idiot or not? If I am a complete idiot, I should become an aeronaut, but if not, I should become a philosopher.' I told him to write me something during the vacation, on some philosophical subject, and I would then tell him whether he was a complete idiot or not. At the beginning of the following term, he brought me the fulfillment of this suggestion. After reading only one sentence, I said to him, 'No, you must not become an aeronaut.' And he didn't.

T: It's a tribute, I think, to Russell's generosity of spirit, that within the few weeks of meeting Wittgenstein, he felt that he had to hand over the torch to this young genius.

P: Yes.

M: He felt he was the most clear example of genius he'd ever come across in his life.

P: Russell also said this of Wittgenstein that he has the theoretical passion, very strongly. He doesn't want to prove this or that, but to find out how things are: it hurts him not to know. You've written, Raymond, that he had a sense that the world has a deeper secret meaning to yield up, a meaning which transforms technical problems into matters of the utmost personal urgency, that the purpose of the world is concealed in some way from us. What is it about philosophers about Wittgenstein, that they are compelled to dwell on matters that most of us don't worry about apart from the odd passing thought?

T: I wish one knew what it was that drove great philosophers because one might even aspire to be such a thing oneself.

P: How did you come to philosophy?

T: I came to philosophy through being engulfed by problems that I didn't recognize as being philosophical. When I was in my early teens, I did have a strange sense that the world was unreal. I was terribly worried that, but I wasn't afraid that I just simply a node in the causal network of the world and so on. And these things really concerned me, and I wasn't able to articulate them. And I started reading philosophy and was aptly astonished that there were people who had thought about these things before. So as a base I came to philosophy through being engulfed by questions that ultimately I recognize as philosophical questions.

P: There is a parallel then with Wittgenstein there.

T: I think one would have to be incredibly arrogant in any way to compare oneself with Wittgenstein. Should we say the parallel is that I was ********** and he is Mount Everest so that it might be a reasonable parallel.

M: I think what Wittgenstein wanted was clarity. Wittgenstein became a philosopher not because he wanted a firm foundation of his beliefs, but because he felt confused. Certain things confused him and he wanted to dispel the confusion.

P: I think I was compelled into philosophy by the sense of wanting to find out what I was in the world for, feeling it mattered what one was in the world for and if I could find out what the world was for and what I was in the world for, it will give shape.

T: Except for Wittgenstein it was probably the wrong sort of thing to look for in philosophy, even though he was greatly exercised by what the world was for, what he was for and so on. Very early on he felt that philosophy was not going to answer this kinds of questions. There were some questions that relayed beyond, not merely beyond philosophy but beyond articulation. And that really was quite a revolutionary thought because hitherto people probably had thought of philosophy as providing the solutions to the problem of life.

P: In 1913 his father Karl died, and left him a huge personal fortune. Can you explain that, Ray, and what he did with it?

M: Well, he gave a large part of it away before the First World War and the rest immediately after the First World War. In his accountant's words, he committed financial suicide -- he gave away his entire inheritance. 

P: He was, as I've been looking at photographs of him and rather to my surprise, seeing that he was a strikingly handsome man.

M: Oh, yes.

P: Attractive, was he actually liked by lots of people? Did he have friends? Was he lionized? Was he sought after?

T: No, not really. Most people who knew him commented on his exquisite manners. He was impeccably polite, and he himself felt that to be a problem. And when he came to Cambridge, for the first time, he felt under so many social obligations, that it drove him to move to Norway, to an isolated part of Norway where he could work on his own. So he built himself a hut by the side of the field and lived entirely alone.

P: He didn't do things by ********    .

M: That was a pattern that is rare in his life. He was always fleeing to lonely places, wasn't he?

T: Yes, yes.

M: And ************,  he was able to then think consistently for hour after hour after hour in these lonely places, and you felt that was the most extraordinary thing without any external stimulus. He was self-driven. And one of his letters from Norway, I think it was in 1914, described logic as hell, and in fact for him it was hell, because he didn't stop thinking about it. He didn't dance around it. He really stood still like a long-legged fly on the water, just looking at the problem, in an almost unbearably intense way.

P: And in 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia. Wittgenstein volunteered for service and fought his way to the front line, apparently, deliberately seeking out danger. And being decorated for bravery, he was in the army for five years. Surprising kind of philosopher. Did he like it? Did he hate it, Ray?

M: He felt that he benefited from it. He hated the people he was with. He didn't get on with them at all. He wanted the experience of facing death. He thought that would make him a better person. He wanted that experience and he got it in plenty, eventually. Because he was from such a well-connected family, it took a while to persuade the authorities that he actually wanted to be in the dangerous position. They kept him moving behind the lines and he kept applying to be transferred and he get moved into still safer places. But eventually he got to the Russian front, which, you know, there's plenty of opportunity there to face death. 

P: For the first, Tractatus, someone tell us, either of you, about that. What are the origins? When was that published?

M: It's a unique book, the Tractatus. It's a unique mixture. On the one hand, it's a philosophical tract about logic, about symbolic logic. On the other hand it's a work of mysticism. Now in logic, he'd already distinguished, between that which one can say and that which one can't say but one has to show. In 1916, he applied that idea to religion, the meaning of life, the ethical. These things too, he now believed, could not be said; they had to be shown.

P: But if they can't be said, what's the purpose of philosophy? Does a philosopher go around showing things?

T: It's quite interesting. I mean, the famous last sentence of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is that: of which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence.

P: That'll be fatal to a columnist like me.

T: And well indeed, it might be fatal for any academic. And it was often said that his silence was quite noisy, that he couldn't quite leave it alone or try like that, although there was a long period that he did leave it alone.

M: I think the attempt to define the limits of language, the limits of that of which could be spoken, the extent to which one's world was to some extent defined by the language used. He felt that it was in itself worthwhile.

T: The task of philosophy as he understood it, was to understand the structure of thought, and this was where the logical form comes in. So logical form is that which gives our thinking its structure. It's also that which gives the world its structure. And it's also that which gives the language its structure. So the idea here is, you have three things, you have the world, our thoughts about the world, and language which is these thoughts put in words. Logical form is what those three things have in common.

P: Now I'm going to [Whistle] blow on the whistle, because I'm with you so far but I sense that we are in danger of going too deep. He talked about mental cramp, and I know what he meant. Going to lectures at Cambridge on Wittgenstein I got the mental cramp. He talked about philosophy being the a struggle against the bewitchment of our intelligence, by language. Well, was he understood at the time? Was the Tractatus understood? Was it a success?

M: It was a great success. It was one of his dominant... it was a dominant text in the first half of the twentieth -- the first third, I guess -- of the twentieth century. It gave birth to logical positivism but rare again, you can pick some of the ....

P: Well, OK. I'll give you two sentences before the whistle on logical positivism.

T: Well, let me say this, that the logical positivism is hugely influenced by Wittgenstein, but they are influenced by Wittgenstein to take up the point of view that is diametrically opposed to Wittgenstein. One of the logical positivists, Otto Neurath, in echoing the last sentence of the Tractatus that where one cannot speak there one must be silent, Otto Neurath said that we must indeed be silent, but not about anything.

P: Thank you. That's hugely illuminating. And at this point, perhaps not surprisingly, he left Britain to design a house for his sister in Vienna, where he was apparently obsessive about the architectural, the building details.

M: Yes, he was. He had the ceiling raised by 3 centimeters or something, completely obsessive. And he designed every last detail of the house. The window latches, the light fittings, the door handles, everything.

P: Will you appreciate this, Raymond, another polymath?

T: Well, I'm not too sure I would appreciate it to have him in the house. He was the building contractor from hell, really, or the architect from hell. So I can imagine if I was the client, I would have said, enough already, please, let's settle for good enough rather than perfection.

P: And then he comes back Cambridge in... is that 1929?

M: Twenty-nine.

P: As a lecturer.

M: Within a year he started lecturing.

P: You must be, Raymond, ambivalent about his ambivalence towards philosophy itself. I mean, you are also a doctor. There must be moments when one's practicing as a doctor, when one's philosophy is the last thing that matters.

T: Well, it's very difficult to doubt the existence of the external world, when you just received a phone call telling you that cardiac arrest on Ward 6.

P: Yeah.

T: Or even to doubt whether, you know, whether language communicates information accurately. Most of the time as a doctor, you have to assume what is just simply common sense. But at the same time, it's not enough. That's fine for the kingdom of means, but there is a kingdom beyond the kingdom of means, which I think philosophy explores. It's something with Wittgenstein that was the opposite. He was a philosopher who wanted to be a doctor at times and one who felt very unsatisfied, while being a professional philosopher, very hostile to professional philosophy.

P: You mentioned, Ray, earlier on, his frequent absconsions, so to speak, to Norway, often to be on his own but not always to be on his own. He had a very good friend and a young man called David Hume Pinsent, is that?

M: He had a number of such friends, the first of whom was David Pincent.

P: But David Hume Pincent was pretty important to him. When Pincent died, Wittgenstein said 'he has taken half my life with him and the devil will take the other half. You don't say that about any old friend.

M: No. He's clearly in love with Pincent. And the Tractatus was dedicated to Pincent's memory. He went on holiday twice with Pincent, and was utterly distraught when news came of Pincent's death. So yes, Pincent was very close, and that was before the First World War. In the 30s, he had a similar friendship with another young man called Francis Skinner.

P: Were his relationships consummated in any way, do you think?

M: That with Skinner was.

P: Another rumor when I was at university, Raymond, was that he would like to go to the cinema, and then watch westerns, and sit right at the front so that he was staring straight out of the screen.

T: He used to get cinema ticket with Norman Malcolm, who was one of his pupils. It was basically to almost drive out the contents of his mind with something else, and so he just wanted to be completely zapped by the cinema. Because he could not stop thinking, at times he was absolutely unbearable. And that was the time when I think most heroically, he was think without trying to develop a system. He was just... each day, he was thinking as if from the beginning, and you can see it in his later works, his Philosophical Investigations and so on. You can see him arguing with himself. You know, and with the argument with others, we make rhetoric, and with the argument with ourselves, we make philosophy, and he was always arguing with himself. And that unbearable state of self-quarrel, I guess he sought all sorts of escapes from it: comics, the cinema and so on.

M: Can I just say I'm not entirely sure I see his love of the cinema as an escape. He had a genuine love of the cinema.

P: Yeah, westerns.

M: He loved movies. He loved westerns. He loved musicals. When he went to America, he wanted to meet Carmen Miranda. He loved those movies. And Gilbert Ryle, the British philosopher, was for a while a close friend of Wittgenstein's, and he recalls he and Wittgenstein argued about cinema, because Gilbert Ryle would not agree with Wittgenstein that there could not possibly be a good British movie. Ryle agreed that there hadn't been in fact a good British movie, but he didn't agree that it was such as thing that was an impossibility. Wittgenstein quite genuinely believed that it was an impossibility because the cinema was a young art form, and it belonged to a young civilization and young culture like America. And he thought it was far more to be hoped for from a young culture like America than from the old, decaying, dying culture of Western Europe.

T: And it shows what his philosophy was, say, that his a priori assumptions were complete resistant to any empirical data.

P: [Whistles] When Pincent said to him 'you are mad', he replied 'God preserve me from sanity', and Russell heard about the exchange and he remarked 'God certainly will'. Was he mad?

M: No.

T: No.

M: Certainly not. I mean, he suffered enormously from mood swings and from, particularly included, depression. He suffered enormously with being a driven person. But he wasn't mad in the sense of any clinical madness that I would recognize, or clinical syndrome that I would recognize.

T: No. I mean, he wasn't *******, and, say, um, eccentric.

P: Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, he decided to apply for British citizenship. Did he fight in the Second World War?

T: No. For a while he worked in a hospital, the Guy's Hospital as an orderly. And he got interested in some medical research that was going on. And when a research team moved to Newcastle he went with them and he worked on a research project investigating what was called wound shock.

P: Another complete difference of direction in his life.

T: And he used mathematical skills which were lying dormant for long time to actually develop a new method of calculating the area of burns.

P: And then he returned to Cambridge, completely to reverse everything he'd written. He started to pull apart his own... the Tractatus.

T: It was a gradual process. I mean, he started early in the late 20s and he pretty well gave up the idea of logical form, I guess, and found it a difficult idea. And he started actually looking beyond the relationship between the language as such and the world, to look at the details of actual languages. And he recognized that, for example, words have different functions. They were more like tools. And he also focused on the different uses of language. You know, we use words to greet people, we use words to curse. We don't just use words to make statements of fact, which can then be mapped onto the world in some way. He said he really got himself deeper and deeper into the complexities of living languages, recognizing that language was an expression of way of life.

P: He then came up with such poetic and mysterious lines as 'if a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand what he said.' Or 'Heraclitus said you cannot step into the same river twice, I say you can't step into the same river once.' These things used to trouble me as an undergraduate.

M: As Raymond was saying just now. Wittgenstein's view of language changed somewhat, so that he no longer was interested in trying to analyze the structure of language.

P: Yeah.

M: Now what he emphasized was that you can't understand a language without understanding a form of life. Language is woven into our practices, our customs, the things that we do. If a lion could talk, we would not understand him. Why not? Because we don't share the form of life of the lion. So the things that the lion says would be unintelligible to us.

T: And even if those who tried to train chimps to speak English, or to communicate with humans using sign language had realized that, they wouldn't have wasted many decades of research time. They don't have our form of life, so there's no way they could....

P: There is nothing they want to say to us.

T: Nothing intelligible to either party.

P: Is it appears a bit like T. S. Eliot to me that you think you sort of understand it, but you don't quite understand it, yet your instinctively feel it's a very beautiful and important idea? Stupid people like me, at least in this field, have a tendency that when they really can't understand something, to say that there's nothing to be understood. It's the emperor's new clothes. All those people who say Wittgenstein was great, they don't really understand him either, they are just saying so because everybody says Wittgenstein was great. Have you ever wondered whether the emperor had any clothes? Whether he was really saying anything?

M: Whenever I am reading the Philosophical Investigations, I have absolutely no doubt that the emperor's clothes are real clothes. If you get engaged in his process of thought, you realize you are in the company of an incomparable mind. You may not be able to abstract from it a set of propositions, or even a world picture. He wouldn't even want to do either of those. But engaging with them paragraph by paragraph, and it is extraordinary to see him. He keeps interacting with himself. He's arguing with himself. You're overhearing one of the most amazing dialogues for one that you could ever imagine.

P: In 1949 he was diagnosed as having prostate cancer. By January of 1951, his health was declining rapidly and his doctor Edward Bevan at Cambridge invited him to stay with his family for the last days. Joan Bevan, with whom we started, again:

B: On April the 27th, two days before he died, we had a walk to the pub. That night he became violently ill. I stayed with him in his room the night of the 28th. We told him his close friends in England would be coming the next day. Before losing consciousness that night he said, 'Tell them I had a wonderful life.'

P: Tell them I had a wonderful life. Was it?

M: Yes. Wonderful in its purity. I think there were two things motivating Wittgenstein, always. One is, as we talked about, was his philosophical clarity. The other is moral decency. So what he was trying to do, always, is to think clearly and to behave decently. So was it a wonderful life? Yes, because it was driven by wonderful aspirations and he lived up to his exacting standards to an extraordinary extent.

T: It was a wonderful life. I mean, it was a very painful life. It was full of suffering, great loneliness. He had a huge problem with ordinary human beings who had unnecessarily bombed to help him cope with the solitude, but he only found it difficult to deal with. Yet I think indeed, it was one of the most wonderful lives, I totally support what Ray has said. He was all of a piece. He hung together; he was coherent as very few people are. He was a man that you felt had integrity linked to his philosophy, with his very way of being.

P: My thanks to my guest, Professor Raymond Tallis, who's championed the great life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and to our expert witness, Professor Ray Monk. Goodbye.