Does It Need to be Heard to be Understood?

When we think of stone, the connotations that often appear to mind are “cold,” “immovable,” “solid,” and “dense.” In other words, we see stone as something of a silent part of nature–one faced, cannot be overcome. Stone holds this paradoxical idea that it can’t be moved or overcome, but simultaneously can be molded into different forms of itself in time.

I’ve found it rather interesting how there is a balance between stone being unmovable, yet capable of change. We look at how impenetrable anything made of stone is; we think of walls (e.g., Great Wall of China, Berlin Wall), castles, gigantic statues, among other things. These structures give an imposing vibe to anyone near them. First, they’re massive objects that can’t be moved, and second, they’re cold to the touch and neutral-colored. The lifelessness of stone objects can make people feel out of contact. The traits of stone, and its use, can be seen in parallel with the concept of masculinity, on another note. Besides stone being “tough” and “rigid” like “men should be,” stone represents power. Large civilizations with a lot of power eventually built their towns with stone, creative towering walls and sophisticated carvings to show their dominance over others. The “yang” elemental in the yin-yang polarity tends to be thought of as associated with jobs using stone (blacksmiths) and masculine in nature.

On the other hand, like all things, stone is capable of being manipulated, only with a bit more force. For an element of rigidness, being put together with other pieces, stone can possess a rhythmic flow through the eyes. Stones cobbled to make walls flow in their own patter, Zen gardens feature pebbles artistically shaped to simulate waves flowing around rocks, and marble hunks can be chiseled away into beautiful statues. I really loved hearing that contrast between the two aspects, driving the point that even something unbreakable never lasts.

When I think of stone, I feel a sense of calm, instead of solitude and muteness. I think of sitting on a cool, flat rock and enjoying its touch. I like the slightly coarse exterior and how solid it is. Many speakers in Elemental Philosophy mentioned communicating with stone, making it respond, and I personally don’t see a point in that. It’s better to sit in silence with it if you ask me.

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One Response to Does It Need to be Heard to be Understood?

  1. Christine says:

    You brought up such an interesting point about people feeling out of touch with stone because of its perceived lifelessness–I never thought of the colors of rock as a contributing factor to its subtlety.

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