Barbara Skarga (1919-2009)


„Poor” and „rich” are concepts Heidegger used in his 1929-1930 lectures, published posthumously as „Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt–Endlichkeit–Einsamkeit”. (The Basic Concepts of Metaphysics. World – Finitude – Solitude). He used them in relation to a world that – because of its metaphysical essence – is one of his key concepts, in addition to the ones mentioned above (world, finitude and solitude). However, this is not the point I intend to discuss here even though it is very interesting. What really interests me now is what Heidegger said later. He said that the world of the animal is poor although this does not necessarily mean it is imperfect. When a lizard lies on a hot stone in the sun, its world is lacking in nothing. It has access to warmth which it seeks, although it does so driven by instinct or drive, a sudden impulse generated by desire. The stone means everything to the lizard, offering protection from possible danger and its surroundings providing it with nourishment. What could be more wonderful? The stone demarcates the boundaries of its existence. Human existence, as would seem self-evident to us, cannot be compared with animal existence. It is created by a rich world, a world filled with varied types of activities, relationships to things and to other people, although animal drive or the desire to create a secure world around itself is not alien to it either.

more from a lecture by Barbara Skarga at Salon) here.