Not how the world is the mystical, but that it is

NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
The expression "Not how the world is the mystical, but that it is" appears to be a bit elusive to me.

Does it mean "(We are not talking about) how it is possible that the world is the mystical, but we are talking about that the world truely exists as is"? Sorry I could not make it very clear for the time being.

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The Tao Te Ching and other mystical tracts seethe with these sorts of Godelian, “this-sentence-is-false” paradoxes, and so does Tractatus. Wittgenstein writes, “Not how the world is the mystical, but that it is.” He elaborates: “We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. <.............................................>----------------------------------

-Scientific American

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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This doesn't seem to mean much more than that we'll never solve all the mysteries of life with science, New America. I too find the sentence in question to be hard to understand, but Wittgenstein's elaboration makes the meaning of the strange sentence clearer to me.

    Science is concerned with explaining previously unknown reasons behind phenomena that make the world a mysterious thing. But, he claims, the "problems of life" haven't been touched at all. In that remark, he seems to be referring to fundamental philosophical questions like "Why do I exist?" or "What is the meaning of life?"
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The expression "Not how the world is the mystical, but that it is" appears to be a bit elusive to me.
    This means your English is as good as a native speaker's English. The bold sentence is attempting to express some idea in the writer's mind, by distorting the normal grammar of English. I do not understand it. In particular I do not understand "the mystical" (which is a noun, not an adjective like "mystical") and how "the world "is that.

    Unlike owlman5, I don't read "the mystical" as meaning "a mysterious thing". The writer did not choose to write "a mysterious thing", which would be a natural phrase in this sentence.
     

    NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    As the author says, Wittgenstein is eloquent in his own gnomic way, showing his image of being a mystic.

    Thank you. :)


    In a subsequent article, the author explains what is "the mystical":

    The mystery of life, or “the mystical” becomes visible in the same way that we might become aware of the blind spot in our own vision: we can’t see it directly, but infer its existence by holding and moving a pen, or other object, before our eyes off to one side until the pen “disappears.”
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