Rhythms: Work, Art, and Text, NUS Singapore, 10-12 Apr, 2014

Rhythm and Individuation

– on Heidegger’s commentary on Rimbaud

In 1972 in a short article titled Rimbaud Vivant, Heidegger mentioned a collection of poems by Arthur Rimbaud prefaced by René Char. It was probably the first time Heidegger talked about a poet without citing a poem. Heidegger was impressed by two letters included in this volume, and was therefore motivated to write this small article later included in GA13. Heidegger wanted to pose the question at the beginning: what does it mean to be a vital [lebendig] poet today? Heidegger immediately replied that the poet must have certain relation with the arrival of the unknown [Unbekanten]. This relation consists of defining the role of a poet and artist after modernisation, namely the development of techno-science. What will this relation be and to what extent can we approach it in relate to Heidegger’s later writings on art and technics? This article wants to retrieve this question through an investigation of rhythm, or more precisely the individuation of rhythm. The validity of this question consists in two parts: firstly rhythm is at centre of poetry which according to Heidegger is fundamental to all arts; secondly rhythm also reveals the relation between language and the world. This article is structured in 3 parts: the first part “The call of Poet”, elaborates on the question of rhythm in Heidegger’s commentary on Rimbaud; the second part “rhythm and metrics”, deals with the distinction between the proto-ontic nature of rhythm and form understood in classic hylemorphism; in the third part “The silence of the off-beat”, I will conclude with a reading of Heidegger’s article Das Wort (1958)dedicated to Stefan George, concerning the relation between rhythm and silence by synthesising part 1 and part 2.


Latest from Blog

Chinese translation of ChatGPT, or the Eschatology of Machines (Voices of Photography, issue 35)

ChatGPT自2022年11月推出以來,便引發了狂熱與恐懼。它對不同語言的語義及語法的嫻熟掌握(但尚未精通內容),令只是期待普通聊天機器人的使用者感到驚訝。有些大學院校立即禁止學生使用ChatGPT來寫論文,因為它的表現優於多數人類學生。報紙上的專欄文章則宣布了教育的終結──不僅因為學生可以用它來做作業,還因為ChatGPT比很多老師能提供更多的資訊。人工智慧似乎已征服了另一個根據古典哲學來定義人性的領域:邏各斯(logos)。恐慌隨著存在領域(existential territory)1的進一步喪失而加劇。當氣候的崩壞和機器人的反叛召喚出了末世,人類歷史的世界末日想像變得更加強烈。 末日對於現代人來說從來都不陌生。事實上,哲學家卡爾.洛維特(Karl Löwith)在1949年出版的《歷史的意義》(Meaning in History)一書即指出,現代歷史哲學──從黑格爾(Hegel)到布克哈特(Burckhardt)──就是末世論的世俗化2。歷史的終極目標便是使超越的變成內在(makes the transcendent immanent),不論是耶穌基督的第二次降臨或只是成為神人(Homo deus)。更廣泛地說,這種對歷史時期的聖經式或亞伯拉罕式想像,為人類的存在提供了許多深刻反思,卻也阻礙了對於我們的未來之理解。 more