Quotes 33 - Rhythm, harmony…

What if, instead, we were to start with an ontology in which fluidity and solidity are not mutually incompatible properties? […] Continuous variation is more comparable to rhythm. Following Lefebvre (2004), rhythms result from the concurrence of difference and repetition, in which time and space are mutually implicated. In a world marked by rhythm there would be neither pure solidity nor pure fluidity. Conversely, a world that was purely solid or purely fluid would be without rhythm. This is consistent with the ways indigenous communities around the circumpolar north have been reporting their experience of climate change as things going out of phase. They may report, for example, that sea-ice recedes or that migratory species arrive earlier than expected, judged in relation to other environmental comings and goings with which they usually coincide. These are not punctuated contrasts but disturbances in the rhythmic fluctuations of a solid-fluid world in perpetual becoming: where nothing is solid or fluid but everything solid-becoming-fluid or fluid-becoming-solid (Serres 2000). […] The Inuit notion of sila perfectly reflects this ontology. Referring interchangeably to both weather and climate, sila is translated as the breath of life and the reason things move and change. It also means intelligence, consciousness or mind, and is understood to be a fundamental principle underlying the integrity of the cosmos. In the words of Nuttall, “it is an all-pervading life-giving force connecting a person with the rhythms of the universe, integrating the self with the natural world”. Conversely, lack of sila can mean that either people or the environment are going crazy. The emphasis on breath here is critical. In breathing we both surrender ourselves to the environment and launch ourselves into it. With every inhalation, the atmosphere enters into and becomes part of us; every exhalation in turn releases part of us into the atmosphere (Ingold 2015, 84–88). No other process matches this continual rhythmic exchange with the environment – one that continues throughout life. Through breathing we are immersed in our surroundings, and our surroundings in us. In a living world of solid-fluids, marked by constant rhythmic transformation, no organism could endure that was not open, through respiration, to its surroundings.

— Cristián Simonetti & Tim Ingold, Ice and Concrete

updatedupdated2021-06-242021-06-24