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.
After Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophische Untersuchungen, 293