The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

October 4, 2016

Revelation, Someone a Person


I am sitting in a room.

Revelation. Why One is Naught.

A person is on earth for a limited amount of time; I imagine
some unrecorded record (and therefore not a record) of perhaps
one-hundred-forty years. The span of life gives us no
opportunity to see how everything will come out; instead of
coming-out, there is only becoming. The becoming of a person is
thereby limited. Becoming is always limited; being, in the
course of being, is always becoming.

During this span, the person does things, which means the person
is doing or being done to, which amounts to the same thing. How
much is meaningless; each person is doing during her or his
span, each person is becoming, each becoming is among those of
every other; each becoming is a closed interval, cloning and
dreamwork notwithstanding.

So things are done and the person dies, disappears as such a
person. Then there is the trailing. The trailing is a memory -
my mother, my grandfather, I've heard that my great-grandmother
... - and the memory becomes a reconstitution of documents, the
minutiae of life already fading, and yet so near! - the minutiae
trailing off. Every instant a world disappears.

The trailing trails off, names are listed, others (for example
yours, my own, his or hers) disappearing entirely. What has been
given lies for a moment perhaps in archives, digital records,
hackings and recuperations, reconstitutions, and then that as
well fragments, disappears.

There are gaps, lacunae - knowing for example the name and a
text of a poet who lived and wrote millennia ago, and yet,
perhaps a few decades later, darkness presides once again. An
ancient reptile or more ancient stromatolite is thrust into a
representative of its species, perhaps entire genera. We're
surrounded by darkness, our names do not accompany us, our
projects are already limited by death, and what is carried on,
exists only in its disappearance.

All of this is known, but for how long? And to what aim? What
does it matter, if a person understands, for example, field
theory; on her deathbed, it doesn't matter, only the smell of
the sheets, perhaps, should one be so lucky, spreading until it
encompasses the universe, a universe on the way to shutting
down -

So one's projects become smaller, quicker, the goals quicker
still, as technological progress develops exponentially by
any standard, and organic life itself unravels, equally
exponentially, by almost any standard.

Then a person hopes to embody the digital, to collapse and
collocate within it, to survive within it; he hopes for an
infinite horizon, at the very least until the last proton has
decayed. Things fall apart, he reasons; I will remain, retain as
such, until then, at the very least until then.

World swallows world, the person thinks, her thinking is slower
now, circumspect, nothing may be delayed, there is no time for

There is all the time in the world for it. We fill the world
with events we define well; well-defined events themselves are a
non-fiction fiction, dependent on potential wells; all of these
temporary categories, temporalities, vanish as well. (And well
they might, as I continue this text, a first-year text or high-
school or middle-school text, no other advances, the bleak and
blank romanticism of unrequited death true in its absolute, with
the possible exception of pathos and yearning.)

What a person does is lay a path; what the world does, is
disappear; what the world does, is path; what a person does, is
disappear (one is never responsible for one's disappearance).

Not 'what is to be done,' but what is to be undone, what is
doing the undoing, what is the undoing, what conceivable
imperative underlies the original phrase, underlies any phrase
whatsoever -

A person listens for a while. Within the world, there is
listening. Always, within speaking and doing, within being and
becoming, there is listening. (Listen. She listens.)

No longer this listening person, no longer this listening, no
longer this revelation of the world (this re-evaulation).

I am sitting in a room. I am listening.

Nothing is heard, nothing is revealed. Or rather, what is
revealed is the _event._ The event is revealed in its
disappearance, in its untethering. Tethering requires an origin,
a structure, an archive, the maintenance of the tether, the
fastening-fascination of its temporary origin, the vanishing and
transcendence of an origin, the memory, listening, an organism,
a machine, nothing, records (undiscovered fossils) permanently
unread, increasingly unreadable.

Dreams of moorings and tetherings, nightmares of cast-offs and
untetherings, foams and dissolutions, waverings of the poles,
inversions of planetary magnetisms ...

The dreams, skeined tethers, cradling one to the beginning of
the end, the shuddering of the ascendent curtain, the theater
descending (as if these were dual), they accompany.

Companion dreams and the species of companion dreams.


The trailing, the trailing to the nth degree, the exhaustion of
the trailing.
The knowledge of the zero. The zero
The exhaustion of the zero.

Then, somewhere else.

- -

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