Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reduction to Rhythm

It arrives on time without being punctual. The beat is not a point, but it is like a source, an arrival that was always already home. There is the beat, and there are reverberations, sourced vibrations. Is there an "ultimate matrix"? A raw material of phenomenology? Is it rhythmical? Is it rhythm? Will we allow rhythm to be collapsed into absolute subjectivity?

Says Caputo, "everything in Husserlian constitution turns on a certain anticipatory movement, a gesture of regularizing the flow by means of anticipating its regularities, of sketching out beforehand the patterns to which it conforms, of trying in effect to keep one step ahead of it. The flux is not raw and random but organizes itself into patterns which build up expectations in us about its next move, and this 'building up' of expectations is the key to the 'constitution' of the world. Experience is the momentum of such expectations, their progressive confirmation or disconfirmation, refinement or replacement" (Radical Hermeneutics, p. 37).

The disruption of syncopations (lost beats, a confusion of horizons) teaches us to think on our feet. We don't renew the foot but the step, and intentionality becomes diaphanous in the nonpunctual moment, the moment of rhythm. Something we find at the source of phenomenality, between presence and absence, amidst the hustle of the imagination. We do the hustle. We do intentions. What now is the amplitude of presence, or of absence. An intuition that amplitudes fall in some measure under the sway of rhythm.

Let's press ahead. Is consciousness lost in a "spacing out process" or is it merely altered? Does consciousness reduce to rhythm? We are a step away from dancing to the rhythm of apeiron. "What is irreducible for Husserl," Caputo says, "is the flow of internal time. That is rewritten by Derrida as the irreducible spacing out of nonderived re-presentation, that is, the sheer open-ended power of repetition, the plurivocity of combinatorial possibilities, the impossibility of containing and dominating this drift, the inescapability of indefinite alteration"(p. 145, my bold).

How do we conceptualize a relation between rhythm and infinity? Do we need to think of infinition? Is it enough to think of movement? "Derrida," Caputo claims, "wants to refute them [the Eleatics] with a kind of Dionysian dance, with the rhythm of dithyrambic song" (p. 145). Does the reduction to rhythm show us a refutation of a thought infinity or its transmutation? I think this can be played with. Let's imagine, with Caputo's assistance, a hermeneutics of rhythm that has no standing, a hermeneutics of the breach of rhythm at the source of phenomenality. Such a hermeneutics "has no standing and no position, and it makes no attempt to get beyond physis, beyond the flow. Such a hermeneutic comes to pass only in the element of movement and kinesis" (p. 147).

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:19 AM.


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