56. Here my thought is: If someone could see the expectation itself-he would have to see what is being expected. (But in such a way that it doesn’t further require a method of comparison, in order to pass from what he sees to the fact that is expected.)
But that’s how it is: if you see the expression of expectation you see “what is expected”.
57. The idea that it takes finding to show what we were looking for, and fulfilment of a wish to show what he wanted, means one is judging the process like the symptoms of expectation or search in someone else. I see him uneasily pacing up and down his room; then someone comes in at the door and he relaxes and gives signs of satisfaction. And I say “Obviously he was expecting this person”.
58. We say that the expression of expectation describes the expected fact and think of this as of an object or complex which makes its appearance as fulfilment of the expectation. -But it is not the expected thing that is the fulfilment, but rather: its coming about.
The Mistake is deeply rooted in our language: we say “I expect him” and “I expect his arrival”, and “I expect he is coming”.
59. It is difficult for us to shake off this comparison: a man makes his appearance -an event makes its appearance. As if an event even now stood in readiness before the door of reality [WIRKLICHKEIT] and were then to make its appearance in reality -like coming into a room.
60. Reality is not a property still missing in what is expected and which accedes to it when one’s expectation comes about. -Nor is reality like the daylight that things need to acquire color, when they are already there, as it were colorless, in the dark.
63. Some will perhaps want to say “An expectation is a thought”. And we need to remember that the process of thinking may be very various.
64. I whistle and someone asks me why I am so cheerful. I reply “I’m hoping N. will come today”. -But while I whistled I wasn’t thinking of him. All the same, it would be wrong to say: I stopped hoping when I began to whistle.
66. Psychological -trivial- discussions about expectation, association etc always pass over what is really noteworthy and it is noticeable that they talk around, without touching, the punctum saliens.
65. If I say “I am expecting…”, -am I remarking that the situation, my actions, thoughts etc are those expectancy of this event; or are the words: ”I am expecting…” part of the process of expecting?
In certain circumstances these words will mean (will be replaceable by) “I believe such-and-such will occur”. Sometimes also: “Be prepared for this to happen…”
An expectation is embedded in a situation from which it takes its rise. The expectation of an explosion for example, may arise from a situation in which an explosion is to be expected. The man who expects it had heard two people whispering: “Tomorrow at ten o’clock the fuse will be lit”. Then he thinks: perhaps someone means to blow up a house here. Towards ten o’clock he becomes uneasy, jumps at every sound, and at last answers the question why is so tense: “I’m expecting…”. This answer will e.g. make his behaviour intelligible. It will enable us to fill out the picture of his thoughts and feelings.
68. Fulfilment of expectation doesn’t consist in this: a third thing happens which can be described otherwise than as “the fulfilment of this expectation”, i.e. as a feeling of satisfaction or joy or whatever it may be. The expectation that something will be the case is the same as the expectation of the fulfilment of that expectation.
[Marginal note: Expectation of what is not]
Text from Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel,1967, Basil Blackwell, Oxford
Edited By G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright
Translated by G.E.M. Anscombe