But after Wittgenstein’s house was complete, he called his own creation “sickened.” He is quoted saying, “But primordial life, wild life striving to erupt into the open―that is lacking. And so you could say it isn’t healthy.” His sister Gretl’s nephew sold the house on the grounds that she never liked it. Wittgenstein’s other sister, Hermine, confessed to not wanting to live in it. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s obsession with perfection bore rotten fruit.

Creativity comes from chaotic energy. But left unchecked, the chaotic energy is a breeding ground for obsession, fixation, and compulsiveness. Constraints provide the structure that creativity needs in order to come into the real world. Think back to Professor Betty Flowers’s image of the madman—chaotic energy—and the judge—structure. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes in The Birth of Tragedy of a similar blend of halves to achieve balance: the Dionysian extremes of emotion, instinct, and spontaneity, and the Apollonian rationality, order, and reason.

In Wittgenstein’s case, his practically infinite capabilities overcame his sense of constraints, allowing his chaotic side to run wild, unchecked by any realistic force except gravity, throwing the halves out of balance. Even though giving in to chaotic energy might feel good, it doesn’t necessarily make for better final work.

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