A Triptych of Quotation

Three quotations that came to me, more or less together, this morning. The first is from Wittgenstein, the second from Marilynne Robinson, the third from Roger Teichmann:

…[D]on’t think, but look!

I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the sense of miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention.

Yes, I’m sure it was through her contact with Wittgenstein that Anscombe came to see the pitfalls of over-systematic thinking, and on the other hand the real potential in philosophical methods which aim to elucidate rather than to reduce. Like Wittgenstein, she had both intellectual honesty and philosophical stamina, and these are necessary when it comes to resisting the charms of system-building, since those charms have a lot to do with having an easier time of it. Getting an accurate overview of a complex and tangled set of problems is always more difficult than constructing a system and airbrushing out the inconsistencies and counterexamples.

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