all leaves have been woven

No leaf ever wholly equals another, and the concept “leaf” is formed through an arbitrary abstraction from these individual differences, through forgetting the distinctions; and now it gives rise to the idea that in nature there might be something besides the leaves which would be “leaf”—some kind of original form after which all leaves have been woven, marked, copied, colored, curled, and painted, but by unskilled hands, so that no copy turned out to be a correct, reliable, and faithful image of the original form.

“On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense” by Friedrich Nietzsche (1873)

We’ll be enjoying sand grains, rocks and waves on the Maine cost today, and I can never enjoy the vast array of particulars without thinking of Nietzsche’s passion for them.

back to the rough ground

We have got onto slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!

From in Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein, part I, 107.

In this iconic passage, Wittgenstein is speaking of the failed effort by the logical positivists to develop or describe an ideal language, one that had a perfect logical consistency. We need the messiness of metaphor, irony, etc. to make language useful to our actual human needs.

[Note: See this passage for an earlier version of Wittgenstein’s assessment regarding the limitations of language.]