Ludwig Wittgenstein: the Fragile Birth of a Genius

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1m Jul 25, 2021

The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein told his lover David Pinsent that Russell’s words of encouragement at the start of his dabbling with philosophy had been his salvation and put an end to nine years of loneliness and suffering in the constant shadow of suicide.

Russell described him as “perhaps the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating” and said that “he has more passion about philosophy than I have; his avalanches make mine seem mere snowballs”
But before all this became clear, Wittgenstein was tortured by the fear that he was destined for failure. He feared he was a dilettante and was a waste of space. Russell’s validation of him allowed him to set aside ‘a hint that he was de trop in this world’.

Had he arrived years earlier or later, he may have found a Russell that was less sentimental and more protective of his role in technical philosophy. But due to a number of events in Russell’s life he arrived at the perfect time for Russell to embrace him with open arms (eventually)

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Table of Contents

Timecode Title
00:00 Introduction
1:40 The Preparation of Russell
5:38 The Austrian Aristocrat
8:35 When Bertrand met Ludwig
12:37 The Student Becomes Master
15:26 The Fragile Genius

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