The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Michael, co-founder of Cybermind, died the next day - Alan


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 01:48:15 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Current <mcurrent@picard.infonet.net>
To: ALAN SONDHEIM <sondheim@panix.com>, sondheim@newschool.edu
Subject: A little something. . .

I wrote this while sitting at the cafe tonight, much to my surprise.
Comments?  Please be gentle, this is not something I am used to/
comfortable with.

CARE OF THE BODY


A stranger writes to me of the body.  Of his concern for the body.
Answering my e-mail, he tells me he is skeptical of e-mail, concerned
about the detachment of thought and affect from the fleshbonesandblood.
An ethical matter, a concern that we will abandon our environment, that
our being-in-the-world will be replaced by being-in/being-with/being-
one-with/becoming-with the machine. . . .

Tracing back through endless stacks of mail headers, we find the
stranger at his home, on a quiet street in a Midwestern college town,
around midnight.  He is reading my message, addressed not to him but
to a multiple that includes him, that he intersects.  There is soft
jazz in the headphones from a beat-up old cassette deck as he reads,
sitting, naked, in a chair in the corner of his bedroom, books on
every side, the screen propped to the proper height by a pile of books
and a couple of dusty old manuscripts.

He is reading, deleting, saving, replying; _harvesting_ the list which
grows, in fits and starts, but grows, in its non-organic medium.  His
hands move on the keyboard, and sometimes, unconsiously, during the
reading of a long message, they slip from the keyboard to the pile of
books to his left side, books long unread.  Sometimes, unconsciously,
he caresses the books.  Sometimes, too, unconsciously, his hand slips
from the stack of books into his lap, unto his semi-erect penis which,
from time to time, unconsciously, he also caresses. . . .

Reading my post he feels concern.  He needs to speak to me.  He wonders
if I cannot see the irony of discussing embodiment by e-mail.  He wonders
what I look like, what I am doing at that very moment, and what would
happen if we were to meet in the flesh.

He must reach out to me, touch me with his concern.  His hands linger in
his lap as he pounders the words, stroking himself.  Then they move to
the keyboard and he begins to type, sharing with a disembodied stranger -
who has not, in any case, addressed _him_ exactly - his concern about
the abandonment of the body.  Carefully, he composes clear, direct,
generous sentences, filling them with more than he dare say or even
acknowledge he is thinking about.  We must not abandon the body.

Finishing the message, he hits the key sequence that will send it off
to me, feeling satisfied that he has pointed out the danger he sees,
and something else, too, has been communicated, something that should
not be brought to the level of thought. . . .  He hits a switch and
powers down the computer, stands and turns out the lights.  A sudden
breeze through the window makes him aware, for a moment, of his body,
and he muses, absently, for a moment, at how he has managed to become
erect during the hour he has spent carefully reading, deleting,
filing, replying. . . .

He crawls into bed, mind wandering from the pleasant sensation of cool
sheets on his cock, balls, nipples to vague, tangential thoughts about
my message, his reply - for a moment imagining himself speaking to me,
his words convincing, compelling - and about Marx, Sartre, Immanuel
Wallerstein. . .thoughts of pleasure and the lack of it rising and
receeding in Kondratiev waves across the longue duree of his life.  At
some point he is asleep, dreaming.

Fifteen, he is on the beach, with Wendy, his hands reaching and reaching
for the clasp that holds on her bikini top.  A couple of weeks ago, he is
peering out the window for a second and then a third time at the smooth,
well-formed chest of the tanned boy who is mowing the lawn, feeling all
the different kinds of difference that seperate the boy's body from his
own.  Last night, he is in my bedroom, watching me read the reply he has
written, pleased to see that I, too, am at home, alone, naked in my
bedroom before my terminal reading the text of his desire.  His mind is
touching mine.  Dreaming of me, he wakes to find his chest sticky, his
hand on his slowly receeding erection.  We wipes his hand on the sheets
and turns over, feeling, for a moment, as he falls back into sleep -
something like. . .concerned.  "We must not abandon the body," he
murmurs. . . .

In the corner, the computer listens for his breathing to steady, then
switches itself on and dials, disks spinning with anticipation.









--
---------------------------Michael J. Current----------------------------
  mcurrent@picard.infonet.net -or- @ins.infonet.net -or- @nyx.cs.du.edu
Specializing in Philosophy, Queer Studies, Depression, & Unemployment :)
  737 - 18th Street, #9 * Des Moines, IA * 50314-1031 *** (515) 283-2142
"AN IMAGE OF THOUGHT CALLED PHILOSOPHY HAS BEEN FORMED HISTORICALLY
AND IT EFFECTIVELY STOPS PEOPLE FROM THINKING." - GILLES DELEUZE
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