For Von Uexküll there is a counterpoint or contrapuntal relation betweeen the organism as a ‘meaning-utilizer’ or interpretant, and the perceptual cues or ‘meaning-factors’ of the object — Nature as music. Living beings develop in a kind of natural contrapuntal ‘harmony’ or refrain, with one another and with their environment. Von Uexküll gives the example of the octopus, designated as the subject in its relation to seawater as the meaning carrier. In this scenario, the fact that water cannot be compressed is the precondition for the construction of the octopus’s muscular swim bag. The pumping movement of the swim bag on the non-compressible water propels the animal backwards. Von Uexküll claims that the rule that governs the properties of seawater acts on the protoplasm of the octopus, thereby shaping the melody of the development of the octopus form to express the properties of seawater. The rule of meaning that joins point and counterpoint is expressed in the action of swimming — an energetic interpretant.
Paul Bains, The Primacy of Semiosis