translated by Barbara P. Fulks
What is the difference between the animate and the inanimate, between the material and the living? This question leads us to consider a philosophical demonstration of the stone without a world. I'm going to turn the apologue of the stone into that of the lizard, and a little later I will sketch at least an outline of life and truth.
When good weather arrives I am led, or I try to let myself be led, to amusement. So take the following with the appropriate grain of salt.
I. THE APOLOGUE OF THE STONE AND THE LIZARD
The stone, not the philosophized but the philosophical that I was looking for, was there to lead us to the body, to the living body. There are surely profound affinities between the stone and the body for the stone to be called upon to give a sepulcher to the body, at least when the body is a human specimen. The stone is always there whether it be in the cavern, the pyramid, or the tomb. One always finds this rigid One, in the form of a hole in a rock or in the full form of a stele. And still, when the body is delivered to flames, we find the urn, the vase where I have traced the waiting symbol.
The stone is not animal. The philosopher makes the difference between animate and inanimate turn on the concept of the world, and two formulas sum up this difference: the stone is without world, while the animal is not without world‹without the philosopher having affirmed that there is a world. He reserves this for man. There is, then, a little bit of world for the animal, something of world, but a world that seems deficient because it isn't positioned, distributed, it isn't salient in its parts because it lacks logos.
To illustrate: Heidegger introduces upon the stone nothing other than a lizard, stretched out in the sun. A fable. The stone is not on the ground like the lizard is on the stone. This is the crux of the demonstration. The stone reposes on the ground, it is in contact with the ground, it exercises a pressure on it, it touches it. But what is the touch of stone? This touch of stone on the ground is not the relation that the lizard entertains with the stone, and still less, says Heidegger, that of one's hands on the head of a human being, "The stone is found on the ground, but it is not felt. The ground isn't given to the stone as support, as that which sustains it; it is not given as a grounding, and the stone definitely cannot seek such from the ground." One might add: it obeys the law of gravitation, but it cannot look for the ground as the lizard looks for it. The lizard has looked for the stone and warms itself in the sun. Nevertheless, one doubts that the lizard acts like us when we are stretched out in the sun. One might doubt that the sun is accessible to it as sun.
Subscribe to Lacanian Ink click here.