The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Billowing and sovereignty


(From a letter) " - sometime would like to talk to you about this notion,
the 'smoothed' lifeworld and the 'peering' around corners that I think
constitutes memory and suturing - almost a form of billowing - I think
this could be a useful concept for me. softness embraces both mental
phenomena, mind, and the receiving, receptacle, organizing of things,
identifying of things, surrounding of things, in the personal world and
its extension, i.e. the 'peering' of the personal world. it's difficult to
come to grips with the 'depth' of the real, that lip when classification
is just beginning or just forgotten - when the real seems of a comfort,
presencing ... "

in billowing, the particulate disappears. stratigraphy loses the anecdote
among the sublime. neither singular nor plural. nor something revealed -
it would be easy, yes, to think through the sublime as a matter of revela-
tion, next stop on the mystical train. but there's no vector, no plateau,
no buddhas seated or otherwise, no intentional or contradictory language.

the particular is the particular is asthmatic, urban dis-ease, the body at
war, not with itself, but with differentiation. towards death distinctions
disappear. there is no other side.

"MR. KING [said] [...] The States were not 'Sovereigns' in the sense
contended for by some. They did not possess the peculiar features of
sovereignty, they could not make war, nor peace, nor alliances nor
treaties. Considering them as political Beings, they were dumb, for they
could not speak to any foreign Sovereign whatever. They were deaf, for
they could not hear any propositions from such Sovereign. They had not
even the organs or faculties of defence or offence, for they could not of
themselves raise crops, or equip vessels, for war." [...]

"MR. MARTIN, said he considered that the separation from G.B. placed the
13 States in a state of Nature towards each other; that they would have
remained in that state till this time, but for the confederation" [...]

(from Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 reported by James
Madison)

in a state of nature States jostle, states and operators jostle, processes
jostle. nothing speaks unless spoken-to, when something speaking is speak-
ing as spoken-for. from such collusion, collocations, rights arise through
the etic; the emic, interiority, withdraws so that the membrane cloaks
everything except digital transmissions - goods, speech, currencies, move-
ment of men, materiel. in a state of nature, States billow forth, swell,
breathe, engender, Mona Lisa smile.

are songs sung? look, I'm putting forward a myth, not of origins nor of
destinations, a myth of wayfarers, neither mapped nor mapping nor nomadic.
look, I'm writing to you, here, see, in the absolute silence of protocols,
which, along of all the things, processes, states, and operators, are
soundless in the world.

look, she said, did we ever have a government.

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