The Beetle in the Box

If I say about myself, 

I know what pain is 

only from my own experience,

wouldn’t I have to say this

about other people too,

that they know it 

only from their experience?

Suppose everyone has a box

and in it there is something 

we will call a “beetle”.

Nobody can look into anyone else’s box.

Everyone says they know what a beetle is 

by looking at their beetle.

It could be that everybody 

has something different in her box.

We could imagine that this something

is constantly changing.

If the word “beetle” had a use,

it could not designate a thing.

The thing in the box cannot be part

of a language game,

not even as a something,

because the box could be empty.


Paul Crichton

After Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophische Untersuchungen, 293