From Polyphasic Latency to Polyrhythmic Concretion: Rhythm and Relation in Simondon and Whitehead

Vinícius Portella Castro


Is it possible to conceive of a conciliation between the relational ontologies of Simondon and Whitehead? The similarities between their work are evident, but so are the disparities. Simondon is perhaps the most rigorous physicalist of the 20th century; Whitehead offered us a strange energetic or sentimental idealism, thoroughly concrete in its actualization, but involving a God and a host of eternal objects. With the aid of the work of Brian Massumi, Luciana Parisi and Steve Goodman, I will try to argue that Simondon and Whitehead both offer rhythmic ontologies, although not quite explicitly. Whitehead generalizes subjectivity throughout all scales, Simondon generalizes the notion of individuation for all scales. The two strategies are radically distinct, but I believe both gestures could be understood as a sort of radically-pluralist panchronism. Being is resonance and feeling for Whitehead, a cosmic actualization of the divine appetition of God, whereas for Simondon being is the amplification of internal resonance. For both philosophers, the rhythms that precede us entrain us throughout all scales. Finally, in this context, a brief understanding of African polyrhythms will be presented as a possible prototype for the collective emergence of complexity from a plurality of durations.


Article received: April 18, 2020; Article accepted: July 1, 2020; Published online: April 15, 2021; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Castro, Vinícius Portella. "From Polyphasic Latency to Polyrhythmic Concretion: Rhythm and Relation in Simondon and Whitehead." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 24 (2021): 57–69. DOI: 10.25038/am.v0i24.421


Gilbert Simondon; A. N. Whitehead; Brian Massumi; Rhythm; Luciana Parisi; Steve Goodman.

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