The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

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day and night

at Eyebeam i work in a hall, not of mirrors, but of social resonances;
everything tends towards social media. yet pain, death, the harrowing of
the hospice, is always solitary, always turned inward; it is for others to
make what they can of the remaining skein of objects and memories, the
conversation obliterating the name which has always already been
inconceivably fragile. so i place and play these comments, in the midst of
almost-being, in places that might be visible, might provoke a response
among the living. there's no economy at work here; the economy of death is
already the economy of life under another name. there's breathing, and
keeping breathing, and keeping sound and trope for a moment or for this
moment or sound and trope for an other. the shehnai dies with me but the
sound is what was happening when fingers and lungs moved or acted, as if
under agency, as if we were all agents among sound, world, and word.

All I can do, now, among the living, is hold back, retard, retain, bring
the development of a moment to a halt, which never halts, but appears, as
if making an appearance, as such; this is the moment where the flesh, the
abject, the breath, is manifest, the body falters in being alive, and
virtuality, inscription, prosthetics, disappear, replaced by nothing,
except substance, raw tissue, unstriated flesh, no bones, no bounds. The
Zen Oxherding series ends in the flesh, not in the same, but the same
which has been bridged by death, which has already occurred. This, our
deadness, is difficult to imagine, to image; it is the Vishuddhimagga not
of the social, not of the Other, not of the other or the one; it is the
Vishuddhimagga of nothing. It has arrived, it has been arriving, it will
have been arriving. So then there is the action that springs from the side
or the dome of the bangu drum or the shehnai played without the bell, as
among the Batak in the threnody of death. What is this action, but our
senses annihilated by flesh; and through this annihilation, this utter,
then there is the possibility for the social, for turning-towards, for a
conversant as this is a conversant. Conversant as such is always forgotten
and is then such. It is the turning as such.

The turning, that is the social, it is our obligation to recognize the
virtual for what it is, inscription, capital, quantification, that these
sorts of descriptions or truths are irrelevant in the face of alterity,
which is increasingly turning towards slaughter, disease, the monstrous.
It is fundamental that we are _not wired,_ that our prosthetic tools,
electronics, transform into flesh, and thereby may signal the social. But
the transform into flesh, which is what 'this blog,' 'this Eyebeam' is
about, must occur. Or rather should occur. Or perhaps there is the
possibility of an occurrence; the imperative must, should, disappear,
effacing the very nature of rules, of the Rule. Then pain and death are
given, among us, a presence, and an action, any action, what one might
think of about or around or through pain and death. And then and not only

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