The passage into silence

Rumi image by Sandra Lesvigne

Rumi image by Sandra Lesvigne




Hear the passage into silence and be that. (Rumi)

Silence is the language of God,
all else is poor translation. (Rumi)

The world is everything that is the case. … Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Ludwig Wittgenstein, in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)

It is the party season, and there is a lot of noise.

In recent days, I have become increasingly weary of arrogant and loud-mouthed persons – certain of them not even fuelled by alcohol – sounding off about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Richard Dawkins, for one, would do well to keep silent on matters whereof one cannot speak.


Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, and more popularly in the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic. (Wikipedia


3 thoughts on “The passage into silence

  1. On 2013/01/13 at 10:53 am, an interesting and worthwhile comment was added to this post: “Wittgenstein said it: whereof one cannot speak, one must not speak. The unspeakable draws its force and its mystery from its own silence. A 19th-century Hasidic teacher put it his own way: the cry unuttered is the loudest.”

    Too bad it was submitted by a spammer.

  2. The club became infamous within popular philosophy because of a meeting on 25 October 1946 at Richard Braithwaite ‘s rooms in King’s, where Karl Popper, another Viennese philosopher, had been invited as the guest speaker. Popper’s paper was “Are there philosophical problems?”, in which he struck up a position against Wittgenstein’s, contending that problems in philosophy are real, not just linguistic puzzles as Wittgenstein argued. Accounts vary as to what happened next, but Wittgenstein apparently started waving a hot poker, demanding that Popper give him an example of a moral rule. Popper offered one — “Not to threaten visiting speakers with pokers” — at which point Russell told Wittgenstein he had misunderstood and Wittgenstein left. Popper maintained that Wittgenstein ‘stormed out’, but it had become accepted practice for him to leave early (because of his aforementioned ability to dominate discussion). It was the only time the philosophers, three of the most eminent in the world, were ever in the same room together.

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