Sam on the perspective as rhythm

Was reading up on “perspective” and found this passage in Sam’s Body on My Mind.

The references here are to Heidegger’s Nietzsche I.



“What lives is exposed to other forces, but in such a way that, striving against them, it deals with them according to their form [“Gestalt” again] and rhythms…” (212, G244). Indeed, when we meet others or things we meet ways of meeting us, not just flat and dead materials. We meet perspectives that put our perspectival outlook on the world in a different perspective. Perspectives are indeed gestalts, but usually dynamic ones that evolve through time according to the peculiarities of what they encounter. Nietzsche unfortunately refers to the latter as “resistances” as if our perspectives only wanted to find themselves, to find what they already know, which is hardly ever the case. Such dynamisms and energies that we meet in other people and things can be called “rhythms”, as Heidegger does importantly here. In fact, Ice Age cultures would substitute ‘rhythm’ for ‘perspective’, as indeed might the Ancient Greeks with their “rhythmos”. This quote continues both helpfully and misleadingly: “in order to estimate [abzuschätzen] them in relation to possible incorporation or elimination [Ausschaltung].” (212, G244, my translation.) Heidegger is thinking of Nietzsche’s very effective metaphor of the amoeba for every kind of being, that is, particular wills to power that we discussed in Chapter 1. Yet, here it is again too oppositional and aggressive. In a sense, most things we experience have a lasting effect on us, we “incorporate” their modes of distinctively enrhythming or patterning (Gestalt) reality and us, and do so by adjusting our habitual capacities, which are the perspectives that enable us to experience similar types of beings in the future. But here the analogy is to the alimentary body, the visceral body which is reduced to a very rough and ready psychology of consumption and elimination. Our corporate warriors also speak frighteningly of eliminating the opposition. The amoeba feels out everything it comes across not to digest it but to merge with it and thereby indeed to gain greater “power” capacity and enhanced perspective. Furthermore, it doesn’t eliminate what refuses to accomodate its perspective way of being open to it, but avoids it and leaves it alone.

(BOMM 64-5 printed, 68-9 digital)

And some more, in my studently handwriting, about perceptual perspective, a more Merleau-Pontian take:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s