“My Brain Hurts!”
Imagine getting a cramp in your head—a cramp not in your body, but in your mind. That's philosophy! It's the feeling that you ought to be able to answer certain (philosophical) questions but just can't see how. a kind of mental cramp—or so says the great, strange, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951).
The following sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, “Spectrum: Talking About Things” (Episode 12, “The Naked Ant”), illustrates his point. The scene opens on the set of a talk show going on air. Cameras roll. To his audience and guests the presenter (Michael Palin) says:
PRESENTER: Good evening. Tonight Spectrum looks at one of
the major problems in the world today—that old vexed
question of what is going on.… Here to answer this is a pro-
fessional cricketer. [Cut to cricketer.]
CRICKETER: I can say nothing at this point.
Not surprisingly, the cricketer (Eric Idle) is at a loss for words. After all, what kind of a question is “What is going on”? Can any one answer it? Can you? Of course not! But he's got to answer, right? Because it's “one of the major problems in the world