Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nietzsche's Thoughtwriter

At a very young age, Nietzsche wrote: "There is a deathly silence in my room—only the nib of my pen scratches the paper, for I love to think on paper [schreibend zu denken], and a machine that could imprint our unsaid or unwritten thoughts on some kind of material has not yet been invented."

It still has not been invented (even though some careless readers of this passage believe that the typewriter was the fulfillment of Nietzsche's wish, if the passage does indeed express a wish).

Such a machine may never be invented because there may be no thought that is not expressed in some language. "Unsaid thought" may ultimately be impossible. But be that as it may, Nietzsche himself later wrote that he had written all of his writings always with his "whole body and life," and that he did not understand what are "purely mental problems" or " rein geistige Probleme."

Moi non plus.

See also Adorno and Nietzsche on Thinking with a typewriter.

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