October 27, 2010

A World Series Factlet: Attention Umpires

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent

If you can't say it, you do leave it silently unsaid; sometimes this is for the best, sometimes not, your purposes being what they are.

You may or may not have vocabulary adequate to express that of which "whereof" bespeaks. If you can't form the meaningful words thereof, if it's out of the bounds of what's expressible by you, everything you can say can be about something else but never quite that which you might have said on that for which you must now remain silent perforce, not having the adequate words.

Or, it may simply never occur to you, either from ignorance or preoccupation, to say anything at all on the matter. Whereof you know not, thereof you shall not speak, so to say.

Or you may be interrupted or distracted before you have a chance to say what you had to say, leading to a silence equalling the other silences collecting around the prospective word thereof.

Wittgenstein was into some pretty abstruse arguments in his little chapbook, the Tractatus, but this last one, good old proposition 7, is the one that certainly justifies but rarely predicts my own silence on this and a raft of other subjects.

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