Search for Stability: Rhythm in the Philosophies of Husserl, Deleuze & Guattari

Ineta Kivle

Article publié le 8 September 2021

Pour citer cet article : Ineta Kivle , « Search for Stability: Rhythm in the Philosophies of Husserl, Deleuze & Guattari  », Rhuthmos, 8 September 2021 [en ligne].
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This article has already been published in The Polish Journal of Aesthetics, Numer 61 (2/2021). We warmly thank Ineta Kivle and The Polish Journal of Aesthetics for the permission to republish it here.

Abstract: During the pandemic situation while the usual order changes and the search for new elements of security become more active, rhythm studies may provide a deeper understanding of human and ongoing processes. The current study views rhythm as a force of stability in the context of Husserl’s and Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophies. It seeks common substantiation for sociality, humanity, art, and nature, showing the organic connection between a person’s internal constitution and outer environment, the rhythmic centre’s manifestations, and surroundings.

Keywords: ​ Philosophy, Rhythm, Territory, Horizon, Husserl, Deleuze, Guattari​


In the search for stability during a global emergency, rhythm studies promote new philosophical ways of conceptualizing and reveal the common ontological ground for philosophy, art, the environment, and humans. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic confirms how important is that the rhythm of one`s own mind-body is in harmonious connection with surroundings.How does the rhythm of people’s lives change in unusual situations? How do rhythm’s manifestations vary in philosophy, art, and nature? During the pandemic emergency, when the usual order changes, a search for new elements of security becomes more active. Rhythm studies give a deeper understanding of the human and ongoing processes by developing original characterizations of the current situation in the world. The study reveals essential rhythmic components at the centre of rhythmic manifestations, the territory of pulsing space-time, belonging surroundings, and mutual movements. These components concern existential and ontological formations, human existence and being, and artwork structures and societal processes. Rhythm is a pulse that goes through various metric structures of music, paintings, poetry, and philosophy. It organizes the order of the mind-body, insinuates social processes, and determines nature. In the current study, rhythm will not be analyzed as a fundamental element of artwork composition. It will be explored as a thinkable concept for searching for new philosophical approaches and conceptualizing different processes, including art objects and music.

The notion of rhythm has been used in philosophy since its origin. In ancient times, it was mentioned in connection with the cosmos, nature, the internal constitution of the human, speech and language, poetry, sculpture, and music. Initially, rhythm was used as a technical term to describe order, movement, and changes. [1] As a uniting force, rhythm holds together different relations of different things: music and education, melody, voice, and motions of the body, virtue, and soul. Ancient times contain ideas that are still relevant in the 21st century. In the previous decades, rhythm was regarded as an immanent element of audial-visual spaces and times, a permanent research object in the social sciences, humanities, arts, information technologies, and meta-sciences.

Studies of rhythm relate to different spheres, but simultaneously they form a complex application of appropriate and encompassing philosophical technique. The theoretical approach to rhythm transforms and changes together with conceptual ambitions; therefore, they broaden the scope of the concept’s definition in correspondence with the explored philosophical stances. A multidisciplinary approach deepens the understanding of rhythm and shows the role of rhythm in the world around us. It gives new opportunities for philosophical reflections and makes human activities clearer. In general, rhythm donates to meter, sequence, repetition, order, measured time, and space, thus showing quantitative assessments. Differently from the mathematically measurable, world philosophy studies the immanence of rhythm and opens the deepest levels of the human constitution. (Kivle 2021, 312-319)

This article aims to show two different philosophical approaches to rhythm. In the first approach, the intensity and space of rhythm are mainly determined by the human, where subjective activities create a centre of rhythmic surroundings. In the second approach, rhythm is seen as an immanent force of surroundings, centres of rhythmic manifestations formed by individual and social activities, and the natural and even cosmic processes. Both philosophical approaches show the human role in the organization of processes and the world’s response to human activities, even in pandemic emergencies. In this case, Husserl’s phenomenology and Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophical vitalism are viewed as two different philosophies that show rhythm as a subject matter of investigation and a methodological instrument for opening rhythmic structures in the world even in unusual situations. Thus, this view shows the more profound philosophical aspects at work. These two philosophical approaches meet and cross each other, characterize the current situation in the world and the vibrant life of people, and are concerned with the processes of art and culture. Human constitution is not always in the same rhythm with outer reality, and the capability to form stability following one’s subjectivity is fragile and transformative: a human and the world around them can confront each other and develop deconstructions. Pascal Michon, [2] a French philosopher of Rhythm Studies, writes:

It is no coincidence that ‘rhythm’ has become, since the 1990s, in a growing number of disciplines, both a subject of investigation and a methodological instrument. Its success is so remarkable that it seems now on the verge of becoming a new scientific paradigm, somewhat like system, structure, individual or difference in the second half of the 20th century. (Michon 2017, Back Cover).

 The Methodological Approach

The present study examines only one form of rhythm’s manifestation that shows movement between centres (a human, a central point in the territory) and surroundings (belonging territories, spaces, places, horizons). Rhythmic structures with only three essential components—the centre, surroundings, and joint movement—make it possible to compare different philosophical approaches: those who view rhythm direcly as an immanent force of art, society, nature, cosmos and those who do not write about rhythm directly, although they maintain a structure of the centree and surroundings. The study shows how in both cases, the elements of a rhythmic structure and its field of activity are revealed: 1) how rhythm can be related to Husserl’s philosophy; 2) how certain aspects of rhythm’s manifestation are marked in Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophy. The article is structured by the introduction and methodological approach, two unrelated parts: the presence of rhythm in the phenomenology of Husserl and rhythm’s manifestations in the philosophy of Deleuze & Guattari. Husserl’s phenomenology makes it possible to consider rhythm as an experienced phenomenon like meaningful sound in the flux of internal time consciousness. It is distinct from Deleuze & Guattari’s approach to rhythm as an immanent force of surroundings. These two different immanences of rhythm: rhythm as immanently given to subjectivity and rhythm as an immanent force of the cosmos, nature, chaos, et cetera, determine the layout of the present paper. The phenomenological approach is viewed separately from philosophical vitalism. A common principle for both is the relation between a center and the belonging surroundings. This principle permits the analysis of rhythmic interactions related to the pandemic disaster’s time. The conclusion presents common aspects and differences of Rhythm Studies in philosophical approaches and tries to show their concern about emergency.

 Rhythm and Its Surroundings in the Context of Husserl’s Phenomenology

Following the rhythmic manifestations between a centrere and the surroundings, phenomenology shows bilateral directions between “I” and meaningful rhythmic worlds. The intentional “I” constitutes the world and corresponds to it with the individual rhythms of one’s own, in such a way the mutual relations of a typical meaningful horizon form. Rhythm unites those who have an akin sense of rhythm. “I” is in the centre of forming meaningful worlds, and by mind-body activities and empathy to others, an intentional intersubjective continuity is constituted. A person is viewed as incorporated in a We-unity by a shared experience of rhythmic manifestations.

The interactions of We-unity form rhythmic pulsations, including everyday rhythm, mind-body rhythm, artistic rhythm, and such fundamental components of being as silence, sound, light, dark, peace, and movement. Silence, as opposed to sound, and light, as opposed to dark, maintain the rhythm of music and painting. By entering in or passing away from audible and visible horizons, a work of art maintains a rhythmic dynamic. Sound and silence are intentionally connected: sounds flux, then they are interrupted by silence. They organize a specific rhythm of speech, talk, or any other performance. Likewise, we can listen to silence overwhelmed by incoming sounds. A meaningful silence has adhered exclusively to the sounds determined precisely by this silence: the sound touches the silence and, conversely, the silence touches the sound. Absolute silence and absolute sound dwell into imagination, and experience is not possible. The living body always meets the rhythm of meaningful silence and meaningful sonority (Kivle 2018, 370-373).

Rhythm appears as a perceptual series of movements and vibrations, as repetitions of time-space fragments of a flowing experience. The phenomenology of internal time consciousness relates to the temporal experience of rhythm as the temporality of experience. The temporality of rhythmic experience insinuates and surrounds the perception of rhythm, bodily awareness, spaces of rhythmic vibrations, sounds and colours, human voices, and other people. Employing Husserl’s cognitions, Don Ihde widens phenomenology with an existential experience of voice. He connects sound, rhythm, and stability in a common temporal background: the rhythms of sounds are structured by their auditory temporality where rhythm manifests repetition that Ihde calls “an index for auditory stability.” (Ihde 1976, 108) By focusing not only on the manifestations but also on an experienced rhythm, phenomenology binds the multiplicity of different durations of rhythms. All these grasped durations are meaningful acts that constitute a particular experience. The rhythms of bodies, languages, sounds, and voices take intersubjective dimensions, including sensations and kinaesthetic perceptions, the flow of internal time duration and constituted space-time, et cetera. The rhythm of dance occupies the body and mind, and via the body, movements forms sounding and rhythmic territories. It also relates to voice; the body vibrates with a rhythm that spreads out of speech and intentionally binds all elements included in the appropriate territory of the speaker.

On the one hand, the performer belongs to the created territories of dance, music, or speech. On the other hand, the artworks’ intentions continue in a performer weaving and creating a rhythmic unity. While widening a sound with the existential experience of the voice and connecting sound, rhythm, and the voice in a common temporal background, it is seen how the rhythms are structured by their auditory temporality and repetition, forming particular stability of the current fluxing event; simultaneously acting meanings and impressions form a world of rhythm belonging to a concrete situation. All kinds of constituted phenomenological worlds (theoretical, surrounding, intentional, intersubjective, life-world) have a common designation, a meaningful horizon:

Every subjective process has a process “horizon” which changes with the alteration of the nexus of consciousness to which the process belongs and with the alteration of the process itself from phase to phase of its flow—an intentional horizon of reference to potentialities of consciousness that belong to the process itself. (Husserl 1982, 109).

Horizons of human thoughts, intentions, and experiences show how a meaningful world fuses, changes, and expands. Applying the phenomenological usage of the horizon to a musical concert shows how the intentional territory of sonority changes, giving meaningful intersubjective and audible events and a thinkable horizon and common intellectual experience. Any concert is characterized by its rhythms, circumstances, and activities that make their environment and implement their forms: the sonority of words and music makes precisely this or that performance. Creative activities unite silence and words and sight, contemplation, and thinking, justifying that the human constitutes related spheres of sonority, visibility, sensitiveness, and understanding. (Kivle 2009, 59-70).

The horizon is changeable, open, conditioned. It widens and narrows depending on what we are “focusing on” and what appears in it. A person is a listener and spectator, a contemplator, thinker, and performer open to the world and others. The centre of a horizon is formed by what is heard, understood, said, and perceived. It could be a conversation between two or more participants of the intersubjective world or a meaningful world of the inner speech of the self. A horizon is a field as it is seen from the centre. It is the limit of an extreme type of “observation”: “Beyond this limit is a region of the invisible, because whatever becomes visible does so only within the field of vision and must be given to that field. Outside the field lies nothing​ visible” (Ihde 1976, 106-107). Opening and transforming horizons allow the invisible to become visible, the silent to become audible, and form particular rhythmic environments. Silence and invisibility belong to the infinite side of intentionality, and owing to this unexplainable emptiness, they form rhythmic relations with visibility and audibility appearing in different manifestations: music, speech, and everyday life. For example, Husserl’s concept of the life-world affords the feasibility of interpreting rhythm in everyday life and fortifies that human life is understandable from what is heard and listened to, what is seen and what is touched, and what is contemplated, thought and performed. The life-world widens the interpretations of rhythm with the surrounding world as the realm populated by all kinds of things that present themselves to us in our everyday experience.

A centre is formed in dependence of realized activity; not only subjectivity governs a situation, but so does that what makes the central role: “The notion of a centre, however, calls for a preliminary and general location. Centre partly, but only partly, relates to the previously developed notion of a focal core within some dimension or the totality of global experience” (Ihde 1976, 150). The centre does not stand alone but is always located in one or another place of a belonging environment. It moves from a centre to the periphery, turns around, takes the central role, or detaches itself. The stability of rhythm is not determined solely by making a static centre but also by balanced rhythmic movement inside the territory per the significance of all included elements.

The horizon is the range of vision that includes everything that can be seen from a particular vantage point. Applying this to the thinking mind, we speak of the narrowness of horizon, of the possible expansion of horizon, of the opening up of new horizons, and so forth. (Gadamer 1989, 302).

The horizon opens the flexibility of understanding and interpretations, giving exclusively empathic concern to others where the rhythms of the life of one’s own include all the complexity of experience open to transformations. This opening is only one aspect of the phenomenological analysis of rhythm.

Rhythm studies related to phenomenology have not yet been widely developed. The reason for it may be in the fact that Husserl does not write about rhythm directly. However, phenomenology gives an impulse for various interpretations of rhythm: rhythms of intersubjective communication; the flux of internal time, time-objects; rhythms of the internal constitution of man and rhythms of surrounding worlds; bodily and sensory perception of rhythm, et cetera. Phenomenology of rhythm is based on direct experience, therefore, giving feasibility for analyses of how rhythm is given, how its meanings are constituted and how rhythm differs from other meaningful phenomena (Kivle 2021, 312-319).

Rhythm’s relations between the centre and surroundings also show the importance of human capability to control and maintain harmonious rhythmic interactions with world processes even in unusual situations like a pandemic emergency. “I” not only determines one’s rhythms towards an outreach but also “listens to” the surroundings. These bilateral relations mark a joint approach with other philosophical branches, in this case, the philosophy of Deleuze & Guattari.

 Deleuze & Guattari’s Views on Rhythm

The article considers two aspects of rhythm present in Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophy: rhythm as an activity that creates stability and rhythm as a force of becoming other. By separating chaos and establishing a centre of stability, rhythm maintains the order of belonging territories, and by becoming other, territories transform and obtain expressive qualities. These two aspects are intertwined and include crucial concepts that complement and relate to rhythm: refrain, milieu, chaos, territory, centre of stability, becoming other, repetition, circle of belonging, and in-between. These concepts have particular meanings, and their translation into English unites various interpretations: “milieu” means “surroundings,” but in combination with “medium” and “middle”; “power” look as if it is a “capacity for existence,” “a capacity to affect or be affected,” et cetera. (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, xvi – xviii)

Territory as a directional space and a circle of belonging has its own centre of intensity that is at once within the territory and outside it, and around what cosmic forces come together. Activities of such centres are not subjectively directed: the circles of a belonging move to other regions not by intentionality but by their capacity to be open themselves by themselves once over again. Opening a circle of belonging in another region means displacing and moving made by different elements such as lines, figures, sounds, et cetera. In other words, by including different milieus, various kinds of the exterior, interior, and other milieus are also included in moving and opening new territories.

Rhythmic manifestations concern correlations between three positions dedicated to the migration and the pulsations of territories: 1) territorialization - the taking of territory by separating from chaos and shaping boundaries; 2) deterritorialization - the decontextualization of an actual territory and leaving it; 3) reterritorialization relates to the establishment of a new relationship and the beginning of a new process and new territories. These fluid processes show “becoming” as fragile and penetrable structures maintained by refrain and rhythm. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shaping of boundaries makes crucial actuality for the the maintenance of the safety of a territory:

The territory is, first of all, the critical distance between two beings of the same species: Mark your distance. What is mine is, first of all, my distance. I process only distances. Don’t let anybody touch me; I growl if anyone enters my territory, I put up placards. Critical distance is a relation based on matters of expression. It is a question of keeping at a distance the forces of chaos knocking at the door (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 319–320).

The territory is marked by a refrain that entertains internal relations and forms a continuity with other territories by three components: 1) a point of order, the centre of stability, or an inside: it can be home, song, voice, or a space of safety; 2) a circle of control that includes a safe inside as well as a containable outside; 3) a line of an outside, a movement of transformation and migration. It is impossible to divide these three components into separate parts. They increase each other, pass over to go to the outside, and flow together. Refrain organizes and marks territory, connects territory with internal impulses and external circumstances, identifies and reorganizes functions, and regroups forces to centralize the territory or go outside it.

The refrain is a prism, a crystal of space-time. It acts upon that which surrounds it, the sound of light, extracting from it various vibrations, or decompositions, projections, or transformations. The refrain also has a catalytic function: not only to increase the speed of the exchanges and reactions in that, which surrounds it, but also to assure indirect interactions between elements devoid of so-called natural affinity, and thereby to form organized masses. The refrain is, therefore, of the crystal or protein type. (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 348–349).

 Territories—material, intellectual, musical, or spiritual—maintain relevance to the existing rhythm and refrain because they are created and maintained by rhythm and refrain: “Territorialization is an act of rhythm that has become expressive of milieu components that have become qualitative” (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 315). The notion of “expressive qualities” refers to feelings and emotions. It shows relations of one another and expresses dynamics of interior–exterior circumstances. Not only rhythm and refrain but centre and frame also mark territory: there can be no territory with no frame or boundary, no art. A territory always comes together with spatiotemporal coordinates (location, concreteness, actuality) and immeasurable qualities. There are various kinds of rhythms, but one feature is shared: rhythm is immanent to a milieu initially. It is not directed subjectively; it is the primordial force that separates milieu from chaos.

Rhythm is the milieus’ answer to chaos. What chaos and rhythm have in common is their in-between: between two milieus, rhythm-chaos or the chaosmos:

Between night and day, between that which is constructed and that which grows naturally, between mutations from the inorganic to the organic, from plant to animal, from animal to humankind, yet without this series constituting a progression […] In this in-between, chaos becomes rhythm, not inexorably, but it has a chance to. Chaos is not the opposite of rhythm but the milieu of all milieus. (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 313).

These binary aspects of rhythm to be in day and night, to be in the world of animals and the world of humans, justify rhythm’s possibility to be in-between two or more different milieus. Rhythm is in-between milieus and in-between milieus and chaos. A milieu is separated from chaos by rhythm, and “rhythm is milieus’ answer to chaos.” Rhythm and milieu can be considered an inseparable couple: one milieu relates to another by rhythm over one another, where every milieu is vibratory, constituted by the periodic repetition of the components. Kindred components limit every milieu. In other words, it would be a potency for opening and serving as a basis for another:

Thus, the living thing has an exterior milieu of materials, an interior milieu of composing elements and composed substances, an intermediary milieu of membranes and limits, and an annexed milieu of energy sources and actions-perceptions. Every milieu is coded, a code defined by periodic repetition, but each code is in a perpetual state of transcoding or transduction. Transcoding or transduction is the manner in which one milieu serves as the basis for another, or conversely is established atop another milieu, dissipates in it, or is constituted in it (Deleuze & Guatteri, 1987, 313).


Even in the situations where rhythm lies hidden, it takes place and stands “beyond” audibility and visibility. However, though being silently presented and hidden, rhythm maintains its substructures that come out from a milieu by becoming other where muteness takes visual and auditory shapes. That could be considered a movement from background to becoming other: to occur, possess something in a new quality, and be in rhythm.

Becoming is undoubtedly not imitating or identifying with something; neither is it regressing-progressing; neither is it corresponding, establishing corresponding relations; neither is it producing, producing a filiation, or producing through filiation. Becoming is a verb with a consistency all of its own; it does not reduce to, or lead back to, “appearing,” “being,” “equalling,” or “producing.” (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 239).

There are various forms of becoming: voices alter from tenor to soprano by becoming-woman or becoming-child, birdsongs of Messianen’s music take musical quality by becoming-animal. Language becomes other by human voice activity and occurs differently in music, talk, or performance. Becoming other is compared to becoming quality: philosophy measures chaos and puts it in the form of a concept, science develops function to exchange with chaos, art is a response to chaos producing percepts and affects. These boundaries of becoming others are not self-protective but define a stage of performance that becomes property and territory quality. The approach to chaos is not controlling it but cutting fragments of chaos into philosophical discourse, into a work of art or experiment. Art generates sensations and perceptions never before experienced: the visual arts render visual forces that are themselves invisible, the musical arts render non-sonorous forces sonorous. In such an approach, art is not the activation of the sensation of a lived body, but art transforms the lived body into an unliveable power. Art intensifies resonance and dissonance between bodies and the cosmos, opens the universe of becoming-other: from the finite to the infinite, from the body of the living being to the universe itself. Creative activity shapes an artwork as the centre of dynamic processes that organizes chaos by words, sounds, colours, bodily movements, and others. Colours and sounds make frames of painting and music. Music becomes an open structure that permeates and is permeated by the world developing rhythmical relationships of sonic territories. Refrain wards off chaos by creating a rhythm, tempo, melody and creates a musical frame for musical territory. It shapes the vibration of milieus into harmony.

We are not saying that the refrain is the origin of music or that music begins with it. It is not really known when music begins. The refrain is rather the means of preventing music, warding it off, or forgoing it. But music exists because the refrain also exists, because music takes up the refrain, lays hold of it as content in a form of expression because it forms a block with it in order to take it somewhere else.” (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 300).

Refrain gives music territory and brings together sights, sounds, rhythms, and material objects in organized-sounding totality. However, music is an escape from the refrain; music intensifies the refrain by creating new forms and shapes, new sounds. That, what is deterritorialized from the refrain, now is reterritorialized as music. Music is not only self-sufficient sonic territory marked by the circulation of the refrain, but also territory open to the outside, and it develops as “deterritorialization”—the territory of music embraces any field of activity that conforms to rhythmic recomposition—the social field, the organic and the natural world.

By moving, colouring, and sounding, rhythm establishes territories of artworks. Rhythm governs the body to the implacable movements of the universe itself and transmits force through every structure of performance or dance. Art and philosophy are rooted in chaos. They can both ride the waves of a vibratory universe without directions, and they enlarge the universe by framing affects and concepts.

Art takes a bit of chaos in a frame in order to form a composed chaos that becomes sensory, or from which it extracts a chaoid sensation as variety (Deleuze & Guattari 1994, 206).

In shaping and framing artworks, two kinds of rhythms express themselves. Cadence-repetition, where conformity and the symmetry of lines and spaces take physical place and remain arithmetically static, is seen in spatial territorialization and the regular division of architecture; and rhythm-repetition, where the vibration of rhythm to be more oriented temporally, includes inequalities and different rhythmic events of music based on internal intensities and characterizes the rhythm of living’s evolution. In “Difference and Repetition,” Deleuze notes that studies on rhythm confirm a duality between arithmetic symmetry, which refers back to scale and is static and cubic, and geometric symmetry, based on proportion, appears in a living “evolution” as vital, positive, and active movements. With no frame made by rhythm, there can be no art: colours and sounds refrain artwork, and, in such a way, painting or composition becomes a centre of a milieu and separates from chaos. Rhythm’s capacity of framing and separating from chaos relates to different situations, including a time of emergency. If it is possible to control and predict rhythmic manifestations, it is possible to localize chaotic activities. “A mistake in speed, rhythm, or harmony would be catastrophic because it would bring back the forces of chaos, destroying both creator and creation.” (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 311). Human life, art and science, sociality and nature function and change in fluid and interdependent conditions: milieu, rhythm, becoming expressive, and taking territory.


Philosophical approaches to rhythm and stability are diverse depending on the explored theoretical stances: for Husserl, the centre of stability is an intentional “I,” rhythm is experienced by the lived body, and surroundings relate to intentions of subjectivity. For Deleuze, stability is formed by refrain and rhythm, establishing a centre and territory by separation from chaos. In contrast to Husserl, Deleuze & Guattari’s characterization of rhythm is integrated with interpretations of art, society, nature, and philosophy and is rooted in nonhuman forces emphasizing the cosmic and natural dimensions of the philosophical environment to metaphysical vitalism than to phenomenology. Contrary to the phenomenological approach, coming from the “I-perspective,” the postmodernity of Deleuze & Guattari excludes the dominant role of the subject and develops self-generated functions of rhythm. In a situation of a pandemic disaster, both these philosophical approaches are valuable. Husserl’s phenomenology focuses more on the inclusion of subjectivity in the formation of stability in the world. For Husserl, the world’s stability is grounded in intentional activities. At the same time, Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophy gives the reversed view: overcoming pandemic time is based on situations to be “in-between” milieus where the capacity of becoming other, expressiveness, and taking of territories maintain distance from chaotic forces. For Deleuze & Guattari, stability is established by separating chaos where human activities and forces of milieu (rhythm and refrain) frame directional spaces.

The difference between Husserl and Deleuze & Guattari is seen in various aspects: in using concepts and themes, in interpretations of human beings and life, in the way of thinking, and in creating different philosophical environments. Deleuze & Guattari do not accept a phenomenological environment where the subject is the centre of belonging territories but include the philosophy of rhythm in nonhuman forces of the cosmos that insinuate in different realms and various life forms. They cover human and animal life, art, the cosmos, and nature. The phenomenology of rhythm starts from rhythm as given in experience, relating to an internal constitution of humans and its intentions directed to the surrounding environment. The experience of rhythm characterizes the primordial faculty of the human: to be inside of the self and simultaneously percept an environment around themselves, making a relatively limited horizon of spatiotemporal situations.

However, such concepts from Deleuze & Guattari’s philosophy as a centre of stability, territory, becoming other resonate with Husserl’s approach to the self as an intentional centre, forming meaningful worlds, the openness of horizons. Correlations of these concepts maintain rhythmic structures, including humans, the world around them, and one’s own world in different ways.

Both phenomenological and postmodern thinking open three comparative aspects for the development of philosophical interdisciplinarity: 1) the formation of rhythmic horizons and territories; 2) viewing territories in the context of fluxing space and time; 3) a transformative function of territories and an openness to new interpretations and the future. Rhythm frames boundaries of its belonging territory and transforms and decontextualizes it to create a new one and migrate to another territory. Flexible attention to processes governed by the current emergency shows how human intentions change in forming new typical meaningful horizons and how processes in the future are foreseen.

Rhythm is a fundamental component of being, and existence makes it possible to seek a standard explanation of sociality, human, philosophy, art, and nature, showing the organic connection between a person’s internal constitution and outer environment. It is also proven in the pandemic situation, which changes the rhythm of life and determines communication and different processes of belonging to surroundings. For Husserl and Deleuze, reality is changeable. Their views, so different in the basic stances, justify a common sense that rhythm ensures the safety and strengthens the relations between the centre and peripheral, between similarly corresponding elements.


Deleuze, Gilles (1994), Difference and Repetition, Columbia University Press: New York.

Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Félix (1987), A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia, University of Minnesota Press: London.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1989), Truth and Method,(2nd ed.), Sheed & Ward: London.

Husserl, Edmund (1964), Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness, Indiana University Press: Bloomington.

Husserl, Edmund (1982), Cartesian Meditations. An Introduction to Phenomenology, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague.

Ihde, Don (1976), Listening and Voice. A Phenomenology of Sound, Ohio University Press: Athens.

Kivle, Ineta (2021), “Book Review: Cheyne P., Hamilton A., Paddison M.(Eds.). Philosophy of Rhythm: Aesthetics, Music, Poetics, New York: Oxford University Press, 2019,” Horizon, Vol.10, nr 1, St. Petersburg State University, p. x.

Kivle, Ineta (2020), “Choice to Be Happy: Rhythm of Flourishing in Aristotle`s, The Nicomachean Ethics and Hanna Arendt`s, The Human Condition,” K. Boudouris (Ed.) The Possibility of Eudaimonia (Happiness and Human Flourishing) in the World Today, Ionia Publications: Athens, pp. 139 -148.

Kivle, Ineta (2009), Skaņas filosofija, Latvijas Universitāte, Rīga.

Kivle, Ineta (2018), “Auditory Phenomena and Human Life: Phenomenological Experience.” S. Smith & J. S. Smith & D. Verducci (Eds.) Eco-Phenomenology: Life, Human Life, Post-Human Life in the Harmony of the Cosmos, Springer International Publishing AG, pp. 367-373.

Michon, Pascal (2017), Elements of Rhythmology: Antiquity, Rhuthmos: Paris.

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[1Sub-concepts such as measure, number, or periodicity were introduced in the definition of rhythm only by Plato during the first half of the 4th century. Before Plato, rhythm never denoted the order of a sequence of time but meant the temporary disposition of something flowing, a form that was itself changing during its performance. The Platonic approach to rhythm is concerned with education, the constitution of person, society, state control, the sacred, and mathematical order: The Republic, The Laws, Philebus and Timaeus. Rhythm is viewed as a human reflection of Heavenly numbers in Plotinus’ Enneads. Aristotle: “all rhythm is measured by definite movement”.

[2Pascal Michon, founder of the website and the publication “Rhuthmos”, is the author of three volumes of research, “Elements of Rhythmology” (2018–2019), and many other publications about rhythm including analyses of Deleuze & Guattari and ancient philosophers.

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