RHYTHM


Dewey's aesthetic philosophy provides a context and source of orienting statements in respect of frequency modulation.

His description of aesthetic experience is rooted in a conception of the live creature, whose existence is mediated by rhythms of various kinds.

As to rhythm in general:

"As far as nature is to us more than a whirlpool of confusions, it is marked by rhythms... Mathematics are the most generalized statements conceivable corresponding to the most universally obtaining rhythms. The one, two, three, four, of counting, the constructions of lines and angles into geometric patterns, the highest flights of vector analysis, are means of recording or of imposing rhythm." (1934, p.149)

In respect of the organism:

"As an organism increases in complexity, the rhythms of struggle and consummation in its relation to its environment are varied and prolonged, and they come to include within themselves an endless variety of subrhythms. The designs of living are widened and enriched." (ibid., p.23)

This can be compared with von Bertalanffy's formulation:

"Metabolism is maintenance in a steady state. Irritability and autonomous activities are smaller waves of processes superimposed on the continuous flux of the system, irritability consisting in reversible disturbances, after which the system comes back to its steady state, and autonomous activities in periodic fluctuations." (1981, p.93)

To see how this relates to psychological processes, we may refer to Sanford. Discussing subject readiness in reaction-time experiments, he mentions that,

"it is well known that preparation cannot be kept at the maximum for very long, and that subjects usually control (modulate) the points at which they prepare maximally. It is not clear why such modulation is necessary, but it is worth pointing out that subjects alter their breathing patterns when they are preparing, typically holding their breath, and that complex changes in heartrate occur. The task is being carried out by the biological organism, and its state of balance is disturbed by preparation." (Sanford, 1985, p.84)

(These thoughts can be pushed yet further. Miroslav Holub discusses the hypothesis of a three-second poetic "carrier-wave" in "The Dimension of the Present Moment".)

These documents themselves may be read rhythmically.



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Paul Taylor 2001