by Michael Bland
the Modern Failure to Recognise the Iconology of the Palaeolithic Female Figures and Figurines, Viewed in the Light of Insanity
I know of only one occasion where Ludwig Wittgenstein specifically mentions self-deception (Selbsttäuschung or Selbstbetrug) in his writings: simply this isolated remark (written in 1938): “Nichts ist so schwer, als sich nicht betrügen” (Wittgenstein 1977, 34) – ie. “Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.” Famously, however, he also wrote this:
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.
(Wittgenstein 1953, para.109)
And certainly we know that we human adults can sometimes deceive and delude ourselves, sometimes even en masse. (All normal adults surely know this, whatever they might sometimes deludedly say.)16 And the means of language is after all a mass, cultural means. Moreover, there are key features of human thought and language which are evidently intercultural17 – as in the case of the the material example of this article (especially as regards the apparently imitative origin of the Indo-European root *mā-, ‘mother’). First and foremost in this article, through reference to a highly symbolic yet perfectly material example, I have been illustrating the bewitchment of human intelligence by means of language. But I believe I have also been demonstrating the remedy.
However the success of the remedy depends ultimately on the will of the patient. And in that regard, according to Wittgenstein (writing in 1931), there is a very substantial difficulty to be overcome: