It was Ludwig Wittgenstein, another Austrian, who already in his debut work identified the borders: in his opinion, he wrote in the preface to his Tractatus logico-philosophicus, he had “essentially resolved” those problems accessible to rational thought, and precisely that would demonstrate “how little is achieved that these problems are resolved.” Even greater emphasis is lent to this insight in the famous sentence with which Wittgenstein closes his Tractatus not even a hundred pages later: „Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.“
The matter would have been no more tragic then as now, if it weren’t precisely that “of which one cannot speak” which one itched to speak about: the question of meaning, for instance; of God, of beginnings, of death or love – of all those things commonly labeled “metaphysical” or “transcendental” because they are, as Wittgenstein’s colleague Immanuel Kant had already established, outside the scope of our rational mind, regardless of how vigorously we stretch after them. This, of course, says nothing about rationality or about our interest in those things which lie beyond it. The two need not be seen as hostile to each other, but instead can even be mutually reinforcing. The music of Klaus Lang is a wonderful example of the fruitful coexistence of objectivity and mysticism, of concept and image, of planning and hoping, of thought and experience.