(This is the original draft for an essay published in Rhythmus, ed. Barbara Naumann [Würtzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2005], translated by Elias Torra as “Von Rhythmus erfasst,” 109-122. This is a third text from a series of essays on the topic of rhythm; the second, “The Use of the Earth” is also available on this website. Translations appearing here other than those from published sources are draft approximations.)
While I am entering a congested traffic circle (more a knot than a circle), a rhythm from a fast-paced jazz tune on the radio enters my awareness. The tune is all saxophone, as I remember, and is punctuated with a phrase that is repeatedly enunciated by a husky female voice: “I want you to get together...I want you to get together.” Now the traffic picks up its pace and I am seized with the sense that I can anticipate the movements of the cars. I know where they are going; or better, I enter a kind of dance with them, transported by a strange clarity and sureness of movement. I move through the treacherous intersection with extraordinary ease and a delighted sense that I have caught the rhythms of the intertwining, competing flows of traffic in this “circle.” The rhythm recedes soon after I have broken into the clear and continue down the avenue.1
What is this heightened state? Where is my dexterity, my grace, coming from? One could say, accurately enough, that I have found a rhythm. But this is where the questions begin. What rhythm have I found? Has the jazz rhythm merely tuned my responsiveness--has it sharpened my senses and reaction times so that I move at a speed that gives me the illusion of clairvoyance in my circumstances (a phenomenon familiar to anyone who participates in sports and not without interest in itself). Or has my attuned sensibility actually disclosed something of those circumstances, a rhythmicity of a kind? Has the rhythm of the jazz tune helped me to find the rhythm of the traffic circle? I have to say that I’m confident I have not imposed a rhythm, or something like a finer order on a loosely ordered play of movements--I know from hard experience the dangers implied in such presumption. Moreover, I don’t need such presumption, because I have a sense that my circumstances have opened to me as I move through them, that I move with them. So have I perhaps found a rhythmic articulation--have I somehow drawn out an articulation that is fully of the situation? And if so, what kind of schematism could this be? How could I so successfully disclose the rhythms of such a complex situation?
My predecessors from Zurich in this area of questioning--great readers of Heidegger who have addressed the question of rhythm---have probably already provided the requisite conceptual tools for these questions, and I can only apologize if I fall short of their research or do little more than rediscover points that were covered here 50 years ago. But I take the risk of returning to Heidegger in this context for two reasons. First, I remain convinced that Heidegger’s text is still almost unavoidable if we are to attempt a consequent philosophical account of what it is to take the rhythm of a lived context. To understand the possibility of my everyday commuting experience (but hélas, such magic doesn’t happen every day), we require an account of structures of shared usage that moves to the level of Heidegger’ s concept of world and his early analyses of its temporal foundations. Only an analysis that moves to the level of the ontological conditions of a form of life like the one I have described can capture, I believe, the play of relations that produced so singular a transport. At the same time, however, Heidegger’s text is strangely reticent on the notion of rhythm, and any attempt to think the rhythm of a world or a form of life requires some reconsideration of his founding notions. This is my second reason for risking a return to Heidegger--for any rethinking of his text is bound to take a singular turn, and I am hoping that my attention to the notion of what I have called a “shared usage” will justify this renewed attention to a text so carefully considered over the years here in Zurich.
I will revert to a notion of usage throughout this presentation, but I draw it first of all, in this context, from Heidegger’s remarks in his Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie of 1928 on the topic of the public character of temporality.2 Heidegger observes there (and he reiterates this point in Sein und Zeit) that the time the Desein takes and uses in its worldly dealings is fundamentally public in character because it is rooted in what he calls the “ecstatic horizonal character of temporality.” Temporality, he says, is “intrinsically outside itself”
Because temporality is intrinsically the outside-itself, it is as such already intrinsically disclosed and open for itself along the directions of the three ecstasies. Therefore, each uttered, each expressed now is immediately known as such to everyone. The now is not that the sort of thing that only one or another of us could somehow find out…rather, in the Dasein’s being with one another itself, In their communal being in the world, there is already present the unity of temporality itself as open for itself. Because of its character of significance, we call the time of everyday time understanding world time. (BP 270)
There us a lot to comment on here and I will be returning to most of the concepts, but let me simply note at this point that this is a precious indication concerning the ground of possibility for the complex relation Heidegger terms “Miteinandersein.” Every expression of the singular manner in which the Dasein uses its own possibilities in using time opens upon a shared ground which is the ecstatically open character of time itself. If originary temporality were marked by a rhythm of some kind, then we could perhaps also speak of a shared rhythm.
But let me slow the pace here and review the levels of analysis entailed in moving from the context of “public involvements” like a traffic circle to what I have just named an “originary temporality.” I have noted that Heidegger understands the experience of lived time in his elaboration of the existential analytic as one of a usage of time. The Dasein applies and “uses” itself in understanding its time as always “time for” or “time to” within a context of pragmatic relations. “Now the light is green,” I will say, and I have so much time to make at least four lane changes before I reach another light and then move on toward a destination for which I have allotted a certain stretch of time. I can expect certain things from the traffic around me and from the performance of my vehicle, in this case a Volkswagen. All of this is temporally organized, and as I move through the traffic circle and beyond, I express continually to myself my temporal orientation. The Dasein says its temporal gauging constantly, Heidegger argues. It constantly takes its temporal bearings (even as it wastes time) and it always has a sense of the right and the wrong time. It thus expresses what Heidegger calls the “significance” (Bedeutsamkeit) of time. Time is always time for and that for the sake of which time is thus projected is the originary time of the Dasein itself. The Dasein exists, Heidegger writes, for the sake of its time. All signifying relations within that order of significance Heidegger terms “world” are ordered to the temporality of the Dasein. Temporality, we might even say, is the original pragma of the Dasein as Heidegger describes it in his existential analytic.
I phrase things very succinctly in this way, but I think not unfaithfully. In its existence, the Dasein is concerned with the ability to be it discovers in its thrown facticity. The pragmatics of its existence are an ongoing projection of its possibilities for being from the ground of the being it has been, and to which its futural projection delivers it. But all futural projection takes its possibility from the opening of a future in the Dasein, just as all relation to the Dasein’s having been, as for example in the discovery of the Dasein’s Befindlichkeit in a mood such as anxiety or love, draws its possiblity from an opening of this past. All projection in understanding (and thus all self-understanding for the Dasein) takes its possibility from the ecstases of temporality that open in what Heidegger calls the “self-projection” of temporality:
In its ecstatic-horizonal unity, temporality is the basic condition of the possibility of the epekeina, the transcendence constitutive of the Dasein itself. Temporality is itself the basic condition of the possibility of all understanding that is founded on transcendence and whose essential structure lies in projection. Looking backward, we can say that temporality is, intrinsically, original self-projection simply as such, so that whenever and wherever understanding exists—we are here disregarding the other moments of the Dasein—this understanding is possible only in temporality’s self-projection. Temporality exists—ist da—as unveiled, because it makes possible the “Da” and its unveiledness in general. (BP 307)
I won’t pause here over Heidegger’s use of the term “possibility” except to note that it names what enables in the sense of an empowering. Heidegger thinks this enabling or empowering as a dynamic force whose movement he characterizes in his Metaphysische Anfansgründe der Logik of 1928 as a “Schwingung.”3 Already we might identify in this description of the oscillating or swinging movement of the opening of time a rhythmic dimension that is constantly re-engaged in the praxis or the “pragmatics” of the Dasein for the fact that the Dasein’s temporalizing in self-understanding is a constantly reiterated process. The Dasein’s self-projection (what Heidegger terms the fundamental “happening”—Geshehen—of the Dasein) moves upon a horizon that is constantly reaching and contracting (erschwingend/verschwingend) as the finite a priori of this projection. The Dasein’s self-understanding is ecstatic inasmuch as it is carried to its futural horizon by the ecstatic movement of temporality. This ecstasis of temporality itself, its “raptus4”, opens the path taken by the understanding of the Dasein. (This “priority” of time is expressed quite strongly when Heidegger writes that “Temporality is the free oscillation of originary temporality as a whole; time reaches and contracts itself…And only by swing do we have throw, facticity, thrownness; only by oscillation do we have projection.”5
But at the same time (if we may say so), the finitude of temporality is such that its reach and contraction cannot be thought apart from the praxis of understanding. So we could say that the repetitive structure of self-understanding (Heidegger names it expressly a Widerholung) engages a more primordial movement of time itself, that in repetition, a fundamental rhythm is brought into play. Repetition engages a rhythm that exceeds its hold.
But another element in Heidegger’s description of the ecstatic constitution of temporality also points to rhythm as the “unsaid” of this description. Time, he tells us, is “the original outside itself,” the ekstatikon. And he continues in his Grundprobleme as follows:
Within itself, original time is outside itself; that is the nature of its temporalizing. It is this outside-itself itself…it is nothing but the outside-itself pure and simple. As this ecstatic character is distinctive of temporality, each ecstasis, which temporalizes only in temporalizing unity with the others, contains in its own nature a carrying away toward something in a formal sense. Every such remotion is intrinsically open. A peculiar openness, which is given with the outside itself, belongs to ecstasies. That toward which each ecstasis is open in a specific way, we call the horizon of the ecstasis. The horizon is the open expanse toward which remotion as such is outside itself. The carrying-off opens up this horizon and keeps it open. (BP 267)
Originary temporality opens, in each of its ecstases, upon an openness whose determination it inscribes or delineates in itself in what Heidegger terms later in his lectures an horizonal schema (BP 306). The unity of the temporal ecstases is itself ecstatic, he tells us, so there must also be a schema for the horizonal unity of the ecstases. Time is constantly reaching, tracing its schemata in that movement, and contracting.
Now “schema” is a term that Heidegger is almost certainly drawing from Kant. His work of the mid and late twenties constitutes, in part, a powerful appropriation of the Kantian notion of transcendental schematism, a notion he links, in one of the added notes to his Kantbuch to poiesis. As we may presume, the Kantian reference was not taken over without a strong sense of the Greek understanding of the term “schema” (the Grundprobleme itself involves a long appropriation of the fundamental Greek ontological notions). Indeed, it seems entirely probable that Heidegger was well aware of Aristotle’s equation of skhema and rhusmos, where skhema connotes form or configuration (the context is Aristotle’s Metaphysics and his reference to the way in which Leucippus distihguishes between letters on the basis of their skhema; Democritus and Leucippus had used the term “rhusmos” in a technical sense to designate the ways in which bodies distinguish themselves by their form or configuration.) Heidegger would almost certainly have known about the questionable derivation of rhusmos from reo (which prompted an interpretation of rhusmos as deriving originally from the movements of the seas), and he might also have known that skhema itself preserved something of this rhythmic flow in a rhetorical tradition that used it to designate a kind of gesture in language--a figure that is almost a kind of bodily movement and rhythm. As the distinguished commentators on Aristotle’s Poetics Dupont-Roc and Lallot, write in regard to this tradition: “Before being a codified and fixed figure, the skhema is to language what the gesture is to the body--movement and rhythm.”6 Is it possible, then, that Heidegger grasped the rhythmic potential in the term “schema”? And did he not in fact need such a notion of the supple configuration of the reaching and contracting of originary temporality inasmuch as the schemata must constantly modify themselves? Some of his later, explicit evocations of the notion of rhusmos suggest that he perhaps did--though for our own purposes in understanding the shared usage of a lived context, we do not need this confirmation.
But before I turn to these later remarks, let me summarize with respect to what we have seen in the existential analytic. In the period of the later twenties, Heidegger thinks the Dasein as a structure of exposure--the Dasein is originally outside itself, in the world among beings and with other Dasein. This exposure is originally known in the moods or passions of Dasein’s Befindlichkeit, in its Stimmungen. Already in this notion of Stimmung we can hypothesize a rhythmic ground for affectivity, an openness to a lived context. But whatever rhythm is discovered in the Dasein’s Befindlichkeit, it must be drawn forth in the Dasein’s self-understanding. As exposed, the Dasein is concerned for its being, its capacity to be. It is for its capacity to be, and is thereby constantly projecting this Seinkönnen. It is constantly taking its being in hand, even as it lets its being fall from its hands, inauthentically. But the possibility of such projective understanding lies originally in the temporality of the Dasein. When the Dasein freely seizes its possible being, it engages a temporality over which, we may presume, it has no hold except insofar as its historizing forces in some way its temporal horizons, or introduces a kind of sway into the primordial Schwingung of time--insofar as it puts time into play, as I put it earlier. That the future and the past are open is not the doing of the Dasein. (Heidegger calls temporality at one point a “primal fact.”) Temporality opens in the Dasein--that is the very ground of its being--and is brought into a rhythmic measure in the Dasein’s praxis. Moreover, since temporality is ecstatically open, the Dasein’s rhythm must be shared, or shareable. From the temporal expression of other drivers (and believe me, they are very expressive in New York), it should be possible to catch the rhythms of a traffic circle and answer the injunction of the song I have cited: “I want you to get together.”
I noted a moment ago that Heidegger’s later evocations of the Greek rhusmos tell us that he understood it to name a delimiting form proper to the movement defining the essence of language itself. It would not be too difficult, I believe, to show that this notion developed from Heidegger’s thinking about the horizonal schemata of the “world.” For the description of the “Aufriss” in “The Origin of the Work of Art,” with its appeal to a differential Zug defining the relation between world and earth, clearly carries forward the earlier notion of an originary tracing of the ecstases of temporality. It also lends itself quite immediately to an appropriation of the Greek rhusmos (indeed, it is almost surprising that that the word does not appear in order to characterize the dynamic standing within itself of the art work). These are big steps, to be sure, but they seem clearly indicated and I do not want to dwell too long on technical issues. Let me rather move ahead to Heidegger’s later reflections on the poetic essence of language to give some evidence of how he grasps the potential meaning of the Greek term.7 First, one of his warnings against the way rhythm must be understood within an aesthetic tradition determined by Western metaphysics. Heidegger writes the following of the “unsung poem” that gathers Trakl’s poetry:
From the site of the poem flows the wave that aways moves saying that is poetic. But the wave abandons the site of the poem so little, that its flowing forth rather allows the moving of the saying to flow back into the always veiled origin. The site of the poem shelters as the source of the moving wave the veiled essence of what will first appear to metaphysical-aesthetic representation as rhythm.8
Now, Heidegger seems almost to be playing with the contested etymology of rhusmos here, because his reservations about an appeal to rhythm do not touch upon the way this term is evoked by the sway of the wave-like movement of the poem. He sees the metaphysical appeal to the notion of rhythm as answering to a necessity it misses as it proceeds to think rhythm from dichotomies such as form and content. He does not in fact tell us what exactly the appeal to rhythm misses, but another cautionary word in an essay from Unterwegs zur Sprache devoted to George’s poem “Das Wort” points toward what we must seek in the term. Having evoked the rhythm of George’s poem, he writes:
The rhythm of this song is as masterful as it is meaningful. It will suffice to point to it with an indication. Rhythm, rhusmos, means not flow or stream, but rather, articulation. Rhythm is the reposing which orders the setting into movement of dancing and singing and thus from itself allows self-repose.. Rhythm grants composure.
So rhythm configures and shapes as form, it de-limits. Rhusmos, Heidegger said in his 1939 treatise on Aristotle’s Physics, must be thought as “Articulation, Impression, Ordering and Constitution.” Linking this definition with his meditations on the essence of language, we can say that it is the configuration of traits [Züge] that sets underway an ordered movement through its drawing design. The poetic act is inherently a drawing out of this design proper to the essence of language in such a manner that poetic language finds a kind of stillness in motion. It is an ordering of its language to a melos it draws out as its own condition of possibility, and as such it is the casting of a measure that permits something like a dwelling for mortals on earth.
“Poetically man dwells...” Perhaps we could say “rhythmically,” though Heidegger himself will not do so. But his silence here is once again quite marked. For Heidegger was also a careful reader of Hölderlin’s “Anmerkungen” on Oedipus and Antigone, and was thus quite aware of the place of rhythm in Hölderlin’s effort to think the poetic measure of these tragedies. Oddly, we find in Heidegger’s text no engagement of Hölderlin’s challenging reflections on the rhythmic calculus that is proper to the poetic representation of the human faculties in their relation to what Hölderlin calls “the “element,” and no allusion to the “counter-rhythmic” interruption that produces the equilibrium proper to the presentation of the tragic metaphor. Would commentary on Hölderlin’s understanding of the temporalization of the human Dasein in the tragic event have forced Heidegger to confront the question left hanging from the existential analytic—would he have had to make the bridge between Sein und Zeit and “Zeit und Sein” that he never quite accomplished?9
A fascinating question opens here that I cannot pursue further on this occasion. But what Heidegger does take from Hölderlin’s “Anmerkungen” is not without pertinence for our concerns. In one of the few references to those essays (which comes at the outset of the essay “The Word”, and by way of a citation of Hölderlin’s translation of Antigone) Heidegger points allusively to the notion of usage (der Brauch) which he takes to be the condition of poetic dwelling. The poetic taking of measure which defines something like an ethos for human existence and defines the relation between Being and human being must be thought in its turn from the way in which humankind is used for such an event. Hölderlin thinks this usage from the relation between mortals and gods; the line from Antigone reads, “Who knows, perhaps there is a different usage below.” Heidegger rethinks it from the ground of his notion of Ereignis; Ereignis appropriates the human essence in usage for the advent of language. But it is here that the question of rhythm introduced by Hölderlin may pose a question to Heidegger. For if it is thought in relation to the notion of usage evoked by Hölderlin and pursued throughout Heidegger’s later work, if it is thought, in other words, from what Heidegger terms in his essay on Anaximander “the oldest and most original thought of Being,” then we are undoubtedly obliged to return to the ancient understanding of rhythm evoked by Archilochus and Aesehylus; the notion of a rhythm that binds or even fetters and exceeds any human measure. Heidegger was well aware of this understanding of the term as we see in his seminar on Heraclitus with Eugen Fink,10 and I find it noteworthy, once again, that this ancient understanding is not recalled when Heidegger turns to Anaximander to define der Brauch as that which enjoins both order and disorder, Fug and Un-Fug. Heidegger would certainly have known how to turn the references to Archilochus and Aeschylus to his advantage, and one cannot expect him to cite every relevant text on every occasion. But I cannot help but wonder whether his reticence betokens an uneasiness. It is as though he senses that the question of rhythm would carry him farther than he might want to go as he makes the step back to the origins of the Western thought on Being. To put this in a formulaic way, and no doubt too allusively, we might say that it would oblige him to entertain a link between the ethos anthropos daimon he reads in Heraclitus in his Letter on Humanism, and “le démon de l’analogie” evoked by Mallarmé. He would risk opening onto a dimension of Being that would profoundly unsettle any sense of dwelling.
Once again, we are called upon to carry forward Heidegger’s thinking--though the task this time is perhaps more forbidding than it was when it was a matter of trying to envision a broader understanding of the schematic—rhythmic--dimension of temporality. For we must think the rhythmic dimension of the originary contraction of relation between Ereignis and human being--a relation that enables any “gift” of language and thus any destining of Being in its difference from beings “Es, die Sprache, gibt,” Heidegger writes, and from there one can write, “Es gibt Sein.” But every such dispensation, as Heidegger repeatedly tells us in his later work, must be thought from an “es brauchet.” As he suggests in his reading of the Anaximander fragment, the presencing of what is is kata tô creon “entlang dem Brauch.” In his translation of this phrase, Heidegger notes that the kata indicates a direction (from above downwards) and a kind of derivation: “That of which kata is applied reflexively has in itself a declivity, following which such and such is the case [der Fall] in relation to others.”11
Is there perhaps a rhythm to this falling, (to recall the Latin cadere)? And what then would be the human essence that it could conform to such a movement? How might we think in the human essence, in its powerless exposure to the truth of Being, a receptivity to rhythm? How might we think together rhythm and Gelassenheit? All of these questions are open to us and deserve consideration. But as I evoke them, I cannot forget a cautionary word from Maurice Blanchot who devoted several pages in L’écriture du désastre to the necessity of not surrendering the problematic of rhythm to the question of Being.12 And rather than push farther, I will end on my own cautionary note.
To suggest the basis for my hesitation in these concluding steps of my presentation, I’m tempted to recount another driving story, and a very different experience of transport. This story allows me to date what I have presented here, because all of it has been composed in the state of disarray and foreboding, but also the deep affectability, that has followed the events of Sept. 11. As it happens, then, I was proceeding toward the Brooklyn Bridge and facing the World Trade Center when the second plane struck it that day. My own experience was trivial in relation to that of thousands of others, but let me simply note how, after a few minutes of shock and failed attempts at communication, a strange kind of excited concern allowed for a very deft exit from the city, a truly “inspired” choice of what proved to be the only possible route. I worked the cell phone, the radio, and the traffic with rare skill and attention in those moments as I tried to get to my appointed destination. But this quick-paced concern ceded to a very different temporality. For it quickly dawned on me that I had no more grasp of the situation than the bewildered commentators on the news radio who could barely fathom what they were asked to report and who were gradually comprehending that these unbelievable events were part of a concerted attack. I knew, only belatedly, that leaving was in fact the last thing I wanted to do. But it was too late--the city was closing immediately behind me and I could only follow that strange temporality of the news reports which were attempting to catch up with circumstances even as they prepared for what appeared to be a still impending disaster in Washington. Time distended as I watched the cloud grow over New York behind me, and this temporal disruption would remain open like a wound for days to come. This was the temporality of trauma. As for driving, I really don’t know how long it took me to get to Binghamton, but I remember that upon my return several days later, I found it strangely comforting to wait patiently in traffic (and apparently this was a common sentiment).
How can we think about the rhythms of a collective experience like this one? The question is immensely complex and I cannot pretend to feel comfortable with any generalizing statements at this point. There has been shared usage, to be sure (New York has come together in astonishing, moving ways). But beneath it, there are currents of experience that perhaps resist such an articulation, even if we understand in that usage what Heidegger gleaned in Anaximander: a usage that enjoins disorder, Un-fug. We have few figures for such currents of experience, though research in trauma studies that follows Jacques Lacan’s work on repetition and the death drive has brought us closer to the properly unfigurable in this experience. I refer you especially to Lacan’s meditation on Freud’s dream of the burning child in Lacan’s Eleventh Seminar, and the subsequent reflections on Freud’s observations of the infantile game of Fort/Da, where Lacan suggests that the relation to signifiance played out in that reiterated back-and-forth movement must be thought in relation to the traumatic dimensions of the human relation to the signifier.13 If there is rhythm in the child’s “Fort/Da,” it lies in a rhythmic relation that exceeds the play of signifiers and the game of presence/absence. It inheres in a repetitive relation to the origin of linguistic being.
Maurice Blanchot is very close to Lacan in this respect when he returns to the question of the death drive to define dimensions of what he calls “le désastre.” I
cannot possibly review here the dimensions of this astonishing meditation on the opening of thought to an alterity it cannot “hold”--an alterity that is inseparable, for Blanchot, from the relation to the other (autrui, as it is thought by Lévinas). But I find it intriguing that this experience of alterity (an experience before any conscious experience) is approached by Blanchot with a notion of rhythm. To know what Blanchot terms the il y a is to know a rhythm that exceeds the hold of Being. Here is Blanchot’s commentary on Holderlin’s “All is rhythm.” I’ll cite it with no more than a brief remark in conclusion.
Let us remember Hölderlin: “Everything is rhythm”...How can we understand this? This is not an already ordered totality of the cosmic whose belonging together it would fall to rhythm to maintain. Rhythm is not in accordance with nature, language, or even “art,” in which it seems to predominate. Rhythm is not the simple alternation of Yes and No, of “giving/withdrawing,” of presence/absence, or of living/dying, producing/destroying. Even while it draws forth the multiple whose unity hides, even as it appears regulated and to impose itself according to rule, it menaces this rule, for it always exceeds it through a turn that makes it so that wherever it is at play or at work in measure, it still does not find its measure there. The enigma of rhythm…is the extreme danger. That in speaking we should speak in order to make sense of rhythm and render apprehensible and meaningful the rhythm outside meaning--there is the mystery that traverses us and from which we will not free ourselves in revering it as sacred....
“All is rhythm” does not come down to saying... that rhythm is the totality of the whole, nor that it is a simple mode, as though we said: all that is is according to rhythm-- an assertion that we must nonetheless attempt to reach, for this relation of being to rhythm, an inevitable relation, would grant us not thinking of being without thinking of rhythm, which itself is not according to being. Another way of letting oneself be questioned by difference.14
A rhythm beyond Being. This is an “experience” that is inseparable from the opening of language; but that must be thought from its bodily or earthly ground. In a fragment from the same page as the last words I’ve read from Blanchot, we read a line from René Char, “car terrible est la terre.” I not sure what Blanchot means when he evokes a danger in the enigma of rhythm, but I think that our meditation must not be afraid to approach even this line of Char’s as we open to this dimension of experience where the human is properly infans and traversed by rhythms it can never fully know. And I think we must entertain the possibility that we are constantly opening to this “experience” before experience--though there are times, like the ones we have known recently, when we are particularly exposed.
Copyright, C. Fynsk
6. Roselyne DuPont-Roc and Jean Lallot, eds. La Poétique (Paris: Seuil, 1980). 284. I have pursued the topic of rhythm in Aristotle’s “Poetics” via Hölderlin’s “Anmerkungen” to his translations of Oedipus and Antigone in “Reading the ‘Poetics’ after the ‘Remarks’” (in The Solid Letter: Readings of Friedrich Hölderlin, ed. Aris Fioretos [Stanford, 1999], 237-246). I propose there that the enigma of Aristotle’s understanding of catharsis can be resolved in the light of Hölderlin’s suggestions regarding the rhythmic basis of the tragic work
7. For this section, I have been helped by David Krell’s Lunar Voices (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1995), which provides an excellent overview of Heidegger’s references to the notion of rhythm and many rich insights.
9. For Heidegger’s own testimony to this difficulty, I refer to the “Zusatz” to “Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes,” where Heidegger remarks that he has been unable to bring to a satisfactory articulation the relation being Being and the essence of man—a difficulty, he says, that has haunted him since Being and Time. Of course, this is nothing other than one of the fundamental questions of his thought.
13. Jacques Lacan, Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse (Paris: Seuil, 1973), 53-61. I comment on this passage in Infant Figures (Stanford, 2000), suggesting that rhythm is perhaps the infant figure.