6.43 If good or evil willing alters the world, then it can only alter the limits of the world, not the facts; not that which can be expressed through language.
In short, the world must then thereby become an altogether different one. It must, so to speak, wane or wax as a whole.
The world of the happy is a different one than that of the unhappy.
But how can it be? Is this a kind of reductio? It shows that good or evil willing cannot alter the world. This is also shown by the fact that, if it were otherwise, such willing would change something that cannot be expressed through language. But there is no such thing, we cannot possibly make sense of this idea. And what cannot be said cannot be thought, or believed, or etc. Pears and McGuinness have “happy man” even though Wittgenstein explicitly asked
Cf. Notebooks p. 73.
Schopenhauer contrasts altruism with egoism in a way that comes readily to mind when reading TLP 6.43. Egoism concentrates, while altruism expands. See WWR I: 373-4, and Young Schopenhauer pp. 229-231. “That Wittgenstein’s waxing/waning metaphor so strongly recalls Schopenhauer’s expansion/contraction metaphor makes it look as though Wittgenstein’s person of ‘good will’ is the Schopenhauerian altruist and the person of ‘bad will’ is the Schopenhauerian egoist. In fact, though, I think, only the second half of this equation holds. What Wittgenstein really means by the ‘good exercise of the will’ is a version of asceticism, of Schopenhauer’s ‘denial of the will.’” So it is not about altruistic willing, but rather giving up willing altogether, as far as that can be done.
According to Schopenhauer, we need not only detachment from desire (Stoicism) but the abandonment of desire (Cynicism). Wittgenstein seems to have lived like a Cynic, choosing poverty and asceticism.
Mounce (p. 96): “Wittgenstein does not mean that the ethical attitude is itself a matter of temperament. On the contrary, one’s temperament is just another of the facts towards which one has to adopt an ethical attitude.” [But, Friedlander asks, “what is an attitude toward the world, and in what sense is it not part of psychology?” (pp. 197-198)] The stuff about the world of the happy is only an analogy, Mounce insists.
Anscombe calls the will that alters the limits of the world but effects nothing in it “chimerical” (p. 172). Will, like intention, she suggests, resides in what we do. See PI 644. In a footnote on p. 172, she says that Schopenhauer identifies the world with my will, and regards them both as bad. Wittgenstein sees the world as good and independent of my will. Schopenhauer’s idea of a good will is one that denies itself. Similarly, Wittgenstein’s good will is not concerned with how things are, it accepts the world as it is, however it is, “and in that sense is like Schopenhauer’s good will.”