The Philosopher’s Stone?

Philosophy of Language: On the Nature of Signs

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In my hand I have a rock.

In the palm of my hand a rounded rock, cool and hard to the touch.

The rock means nothing.

For no reason it feels pleasant in my hand.

Because it seems to “fit”?

A rock is not a sign. A rock is a sign.

This particular rock has been shaped by human hands.

Tumbled with other types of hard materials.

Polished, but without glaze or chemical.

Rubbed by many hands, and time.

This rock was a gift to me.

It came with a story.

The story goes like this:

“In some human cultures objects are granted significance (that is, they are made participatory in the nature of signs: objects that carry ideological import, symbolizing ideas and ideologies, thoughts or beliefs – become participants in consciousness). Specific cultures embue certain rocks (geological formations) with such significance. In the culture (social community) this rock originates from, it is designated a “lingam rock,” a rock arbitrarily filled with gendered and generative signification. In Hindu religion it represents a beginning and endless pillar, signing infinity and male creative energy. Its correspondent form, the “yoni rock” form symbolizes the goddess, female creative energies. Together, the inseparable principles of gendered existence, the totality of creative forces. It is smoothly oblong, roughly the shape of a woman’s vagina, and an elongated sphere differently colored at one end, something like a man’s penis. The signification of the object “fits” given the signage (or images) already existing in our human experience. It is believed by some that those who pocket and finger this rock regularly will garner sexual vitality and increased generative activity.”

Periodically I handle this rock.

Mostly I keep it on the surface of my writing desk as a reminder of the strangeness and possibilities of semiotic realities.

That, given my physical form, a body that stands for itself and contains particular matters, but also a complete surface ever open to an external world, that what is interior and what is perceived to be exterior are constantly referencing one another in uncountable ways.

That making words on paper is an objectification of signs. As is speech, or uttering.

That “experience” takes place in this no-place, some liminal border between internal and external, coequally shaping and inventing, structuring and expanding or diminishing one another, ever in flux.

In my hand I have a rock.

In the palm of my hand, a rounded rock, cool and hard on my skin.

The rock means nothing or anything.

For no reason it feels pleasant there.

Or perhaps because it “fits.” With anything else.

We devise. With.                                                                                                                                                                                    N. Filbert 2012

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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