it looks earthily upon mortals” (GA 12: 59/OWL 182, tm). The hardness of enduring a painful exposure makes the stone a threshold whereby pain and stone themselves become indissociably linked in the between.

Insofar as the pain of the stone is the pain of exposure to the world beyond it, this pain is ineradicable. Trakl’s “Heiterer Frühling” expresses this thought at the start of its last stanza: “So painfully good and true is that which lives”; something which would hold not only for the living, but for any existence whatsoever qua exposed.17 Naturally, after this evocation of the painfully good, Trakl speaks of stone:

And gently an old stone touches you:
Verily! I shall be with you always.18

Not only is there a touch of stone here, pace the Fundamental Concepts, but, as Heidegger explains, “the colon after the word ‘stone’ at the end of the verse signifies that here the stone is speaking” (GA 12: 59/OWL 182, tm). Stone speaks to the wanderers, those who leave their abode to find themselves underway, between homes (it is a wanderer who arrives at the stone threshold in “Ein Winterabend”): “Silent since long ago, it now says to the wanderers who follow the stranger nothing less than its own reign and perseverance” (GA 12: 59/OWL 182, tm). The meaning of what stone says, the sense of stone, is that our existence as finite and exposed will always be one of hardness and pain.

The speech of stone, while perplexing, follows from the analyses in “Language” on the role or place of language for mortal existence. While we will address this more directly in our discussion of the mortals (“Language and Mortality” in chapter 5), a few brief remarks are nonetheless in order here. Heidegger is emphatic that language is not a possession of the mortal, nor that it expresses the thoughts of an “interior” (mortals have no “interior”). Indeed, it is a tenet of Heidegger’s thinking of language that the human does not speak, but instead “language speaks” (GA 12: 10/PLT 188, among other places). Consequently, language (the logos) is no longer a property of the human, something it would possess, but is liberated from the human interior and set loose in the world. The logos comes to fill the world as the medium for what appears. Otherwise put, the medium of appearance is itself a medium of meaning. What appears there (in the world) appears meaningfully, or, better, it appears in terms of sense, where “sense” brings together the physicality of the sensual with the intellectuality of the sensible.19 It names their jointure in the between. What appears in the world appears sensibly and sensually. The stone is able to speak to us because the stone is “in” sense. The materiality of stone loses its bruteness, as it were, in this exposure to sense. The

17 Trakl, “Heiterer Frühling,” Dichtungen, 50/Poems, 66, tm; cited at GA 12: 58/OWL 181.

18 Trakl, “Heiterer Frühling,” Dichtungen, 50/Poems, 66, tm; cited at GA 12: 59/OWL 182.

19 In Stone, an indispensible work for any thinking of stone, John Sallis writes “in itself the word sense houses the most gigantic ambivalence, indifferently coupling the difference between what is called the sensible, things of sense apprehended perceptually, and signification, meaning, a signified or intended sense . . . to differentiate between the two senses of sense presupposes the very differentiation that it would effect.” Sallis, Stone, 13– 14. Hegel notes in the Aesthetics that “‘Sense’ is this wonderful word which is used in two opposite meanings. On the one hand it means the organ of immediate apprehension, but on the other hand we mean by it the sense, the significance, the thought, the universal underlying the thing. And so sense is connected on the one hand with the immediate external aspect of existence, and on the other hand with its inner essence.” Hegel, Ästhetik, Werke 13: 173/Aesthetics, vol. 1, 128-29.

Andrew J. Mitchell - The Fourfold

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