The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


USER

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More on addiction/users - around 1995; the other material is at
http://www.alansondheim.org/subjectnet.txt . "Clara" is an
emanent (online emanation, avatar semiosis), I wrote to/through/
under.

USER.TXT

If the user is an addict, Clara. A user *is* an addict; one who
uses on a constant basis is a user. Or so it seems to me. But
addiction - that's something else. Or in order to define -

Addiction by means of the withdrawal at the other end or in the
midst of the thing. So that withdrawal - a particular
symptomology perhaps - might be the key to it. And beyond
withdrawal -

It would be a doubling, a +/- - withdrawal, which is an absence,
but an absence always already conditioned by a presence, of the
drug itself.

By drug - meaning only *that substance* which is the root-
directory of the addiction - not even substance, but *entity* -
and by *entity* - it extends further - one includes patterns of
behavior, whole cultures - pathways through a universal
discourse -

But it always refers back to the *thatness* of the entity - just
as science is *that which* is ideologically problematic in
relation, say, to religion or magic, sympathetic or otherwise -

Or the articulation, say of *painting* by *paint* - there are a
lot of examples - the movement of the Tonya-Harding-blade upon
the ice - which it seems to me is a case of obsession or
devouring - so that in all these instances, there is an
introjection of a discrete other, an identified other - coupled
with a particular symptomology of withdrawal -

The addict circumscribes the *entity* - an inscription which
also binds or writes the coagulation of the ego - a form of
scar-tissue. Now what about the screen? Doesn't the screen
always refer back to or upon itself, a referral implicating the
user - the two of them caught in an inextricable matrix? One has
to consider first of all the *inner voice* occasioned by the
screen - the screen is the internal speaking-of-words, not a
legible exteriority. The screen is also non-linear in a deep
sense - the scrolling and insertion of files, deletions, the
presence of graphic affect - all point to a cranial
articulation. The screen itself is always this interiority; the
user's body is bound to it. Note that it speaks in a whisper -
which is why flaming is so problematic, since it contradicts
inner speech, insisting on an other that literally shouts to be
heard. So that it is more than argument; it appears to be an
*ontological shift* in language's construct, which is difficult
to absorb. I FLAME: THEREFORE I AM. See how the typography
itself carries the philosophical argument, which is no longer an
argument, but the appearance of the Other.

But the appearance of the Other *is* the argument; there would
be no argument otherwise. To argue Other-wise is already to
bracket the signifier, each and every signifier, by a
problematic transcendence; I don't buy this - I return to the
leakiness and obdurate quality (similar to but not equated with
Kripke's rigid designators) of every signifier - the signifier
as *this* signifier tenuously embedded in the imaginary, always
unaccountable - and always *unaccounted-for.* It is this last -
that I cannot account *for* the signifier - that intensifies the
discussion. For to account *for* the signifier, *this*
signifier, is to take responsibility *for* it - as well as,
within an/other derivation, to construe its *origin.* Thus I may
account *for* my eyeglasses by (virtue of) my weak eyesight,
which I may account *for* perhaps by heredity (or not): This
constructs a complete epistemology of eyeglasses in terms of
originary trace. The other that releases itself in flaming is an
*incontrovertible argument* or no *argument* at all, just as
this discussion is the result of a doubling or its presence.

In addiction the *other* is the *same* because it is bound
within and without the coagulation of the ego; the absorption of
the *other* is always troubling.

Why? Because the other is absorbed solely on the basis of its
use- function, and the use-function is *a priori* reductive; the
leakiness is constrained. The presence and absence of the entity
are channeled *through* the use function; at the same time, the
entity becomes a clouded ontological (the being of the body /
being of beings) and epistemological (the horizon of the body /
the horizon) arena, which is - ultimately - an arena of
contestation.

Why? Because it is through and against the entity that
procurement occurs, for addiction is always a situation of
procurement (continuous or otherwise). Procurement sets the
addict at odds with the other, with each and every other from
*entity* to (other) addict; procurement also construes community
with the other from *entity* to (other) addict. With computer
communications becoming more and more zero-loss ecologically,
with the networking transforming from skein to membrane, with
resolution moving from low to high, the potential exists for the
first addiction without contestation, an addiction in which the
*entity* becomes asymptotically equivalent to lived-space
itself. With the conceivable exception? With the conceivable
exception of the *construct,* for this space is always already
one of construction, and therefore one can imagine the beautiful
addict... the presence of the beautiful addict... such as
Clara... such as myself...

----------------------------------------------------------------

Does this explain everything in the world, as I hoped it would?
I remain glued to the screen writing and rewriting, my fingers
moving with a blur - even this afternoon, in RL, I stunned a
dancer with my dancing upon the keys. The theorizing of the net
is an interminable analysis, always subject to revision,
changing and changing once again... an analysis whose truth is
the result of a *table of truths,* something created by
*another* in the midst of the *same* ...

sondheim@newschool.edu {outdated}
end.user.txt

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