Why Being a Little Childish Pays Off

Adrian S. Potter
4 min readMar 2, 2024

“…come down into the green valleys of silliness.”

Photo by SHVETS production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/funny-black-man-making-grimace-and-pouting-lips-6974933/

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. Wittgenstein initially studied engineering before turning to philosophy at Cambridge University. His early work, “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,” laid the foundation for logical positivism, arguing that language’s primary function is to represent the world accurately and philosophical problems arise from misunderstandings of language.

Later in life, Wittgenstein underwent a significant philosophical shift, which led to his posthumously published work, “Philosophical Investigations.” In this later period, he explored the nature of language, meaning, and understanding, emphasizing the social and contextual aspects of linguistic usage. He rejected the idea that language mirrors reality and instead proposed that meaning arises from language’s use within specific social practices.

Wittgenstein’s ideas had a profound impact on various fields, including philosophy, linguistics, psychology, and cognitive science. His work continues to influence contemporary debates on language, meaning, and the nature of thought, making him a central figure in philosophy. His great quote –

“Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.”

— suggests a shift in perspective from intellectualism to embracing simplicity and playfulness. Let’s break it down.

“Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness”

This part cautions against getting too wrapped up in academic pursuits or trying to appear intelligent. It warns against isolating oneself in a realm of abstract thought or disconnected cleverness, which might lead to a sense of emptiness or lack of fulfillment.

“Come down into the green valleys of silliness”

--

--

Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com