Wittgenstein's Therapy
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Artist Bernhard Leitner Painter Maria Stracke Ludwig Wittgenstein

Zur deutschen Version: Auf die Fahnen klicken!


A film by Petrus van der Let 2011 (44min.)

April 29, 2011 marks the 60-year anniversary of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s death.

Wittgenstein was born in the same year (1889) and the same country as Hitler, and in 1903/1904, they even attended the same school, the Realschule in Linz, although Wittgenstein was two years ahead of Hitler. The brittle tenets of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus are constructed and numbered in almost autistic perfection and cumulate in the famous statement that was allocated the magical number 7: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. Wittgenstein was a strikingly nervous man, often on the verge of exhaustion and confusion. Similar to Hitler, Wittgenstein’s self-disgust, which rose to the surface over and over again, was paired with a distinctive callousness, we might even say cruelty. Despite all his high-minded ethical ideas, several incidences are reported of Wittgenstein treating his pupils brutally during his time as an elementary school teacher in Lower Austria. The fundamental difference between Wittgenstein and Hitler was that Wittgenstein was aware of the fact that he was suffering from a disorder. This awareness prevented him from being caught up in the maelstrom of a political religion and of sanctifying his disorder as a divine calling, as Hitler did. Most importantly: instead of continuing the pointless war of destruction that was going on between himself and the world, Wittgenstein, during the second half of his life, began to think about how to heal himself. Wittgenstein’s later philosophy strives for therapy - therapy for himself, and for our culture.

This film was inspired by Harald Strohm’s ideas and texts in the book  Die Gnosis und der Nationalsozialismus - Gnosis and National Socialism,  Aschaffenburg, 2005.

  • Duration: 43 min. 40 sec.
  • Format: HDV, Digi Beta, PAL, 16:9, stereo
  • Written and directed by: Petrus van der Let
  • Camera, editing: Benjamin Epp
  • Music: Christina Baader, Herwig Rogler, Peter Uwira
  • Production: Petrus van der Let Film Productions, in cooperation with ORF, Film Promotion Funds of the Provinces of Lower Austria and Upper Austria, Linz Kultur.
  • Festivals: MEDIMED Sitges, Spain (October 2011)
  • Broadcast: BRalpha April 28th 2011 9pm, ORF3 January 23rd 2012 10.55pm, BRalpha July 31st 2012 9pm, ORF III April 23rd 2014 6.10pm and April 24th 2014 10am.
  • Distribution: vanderlet.p@aon.at
  • DVD with English subtitles: Alibri-Verlag www.alibri-buecher.de ; Euro 14,99
  • Trailer: www.youtube.com/user/AlibriVerlag or Wittgenstein's Therapy
  • Interviews and off-narration: Where the Gods come from (PDF)