Meaning as a Historical Process

The peculiar experience of meaning is characterized by the fact that we come out with an explanation and use the past tense: just as if we were explaining the meaning of a word for practical purposes.
Wittgenstein, Zettel, ยง178
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Wittgenstein: Governmentality

In what circumstances does one say “This appliance is a brake, but it doesn’t work”? That surely means: it does not fulfil its purpose. What is it for it to have this purpose? It might also be said: “It was the intention that this should work as a brake.” Whose intention? Here intention as a state of mind entirely disappears from view.

Might it not even be imagined that several people had carried out an intention without any one of them having it? In this way a government may have an intention that no man has.

Wittgenstein, Zettel, §48

The Wilderness of Mirrors

The great problem of knowledge is in the desire for it. When we want to know we are placed in a situation in which our wanting is a part of the construction of that which we want to know.  By desiring to know we step into a wilderness of mirrors of our own making; a narcissistic field in which we are the only object.

Why should something impalpable be more mysterious than something papable? Unless it’s because we want to catch hold of it.

Wittgenstein, Zettel, §126