[NetBehaviour] The Sickness

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sun Nov 24 03:34:52 CET 2019

The Sickness


At the doctor's office, wore a face mask for safety, tested
negative for flu. With fluish symptoms. Last night could barely
breathe, gasping for breath. Haven't really been able to write.
Fever went down, almost normal. We all go through this at one time
or another. Below is a text that I wrote sometime in the early 80s.
Then modified. I'm not sure when. The original published in my
Disorders of the real. And I continue to wonder why thinking almost
always presupposes a healthy body and mind, no fever for example.
Of course there's exceptions but still. Perhaps everyone thinks
s/he's alright writing? Or the edge is somehow true. So this is the
third incarnation. I'm not thinking clearly yet. I should be better
in a few days. Of course.

""""The Sickness revisited

I have the flu. It is a violent case; I find it difficult to
concentrate. Things seem lighter; my body twists and curls. There
are moments of tension, dizziness. Nothing resolves.

"What resolves, reverses, is the memory of a fantasy. Which reduces
to an image, is captured by an image. A hole in the shape of a
funnel, an inverted cone, into the ground. About thirteen inches;
somehow this depth is significant. When I do not have the flu.
Which I do at the moment."

This is from The Sickness I. Here is more:

"Does the flu take over the fantasy, as chills begin. They are
typical chills in this abnormal, atypical December weather with the
temperatures reaching into the mid 70s. What about the fantasy when
the body convulses, or is the result of the fantasy, the same, and
therefore the necessity for its presence? In the midst of my
sickness, the flu."

And what if the image, the fantasy, is a guiding metaphor? What if
it constitutes the heart of philosophical exegesis, something later
on perhaps that I would bring back, from sickness into health? What
are the insights offered? What have they to do with the structure
of the world?

"A smoothness somehow tied into the cause and effect relation of
the flu. To itself. The flu which consumes itself. Disappearing
into the blending of reason."

Becoming the heart of reason, the dis-ease at the core of
philosophy, taking the world apart, nothing for granted.

And from The Sickness II:

"Even then in the midst of my sickness (delirium) I speculated on
this apparition. The fever insisted on telling a truth: this was
verified by the fever itself."

The fever deconstructs the body, holds it in abeyance. An addition:
I don't feel well, I don't feel myself, I don't feel anything, I'm
somewhere else, where am I?

Then there is the practical inertness, The Sickness V emphasizing
the stone or ghost-like apparition of the self. For both
interpenetrate: The stone is hollow, transparent, and the ghost
thuds to the ground. Words choke in the throat; language vacates
itself, meaning is no longer present or an issue. As in depression,
everything decathects, and it is this loosening, this
disinvestment, that tends towards a truth that topples, that can
never be recognized, since there is no healthy subject to recognize

"All this stupid thing does is sit around and watch television.
That's the first line. It always forgets what it's talking about.
Half its mind is gone. That's another line. It just had its
temperature raised to hell and back. It just had its ear smashed
[tinnitus]. That's something. It just can't hear the high notes. It
just can't tell where the low notes are coming from. That's one of
them. It watches its body collapsing each time a breath is
expelled. Someone has to remind it to breathe. That's whatever. It
gets sick at night; it can't remember where it comes from. That's
it. It misses the point; it can't remember what it was you said
just a moment ago. That's maybe what it meant. It can't even make a
point; it just writes and writes and makes errors, errors not
points. That's a line or two." [...] "It can't even rot; it doesn't
have enough mind left for the rot of it. That's not even the truth.
It just had a bloody hot fever; it remembers the fever, whatever
that had been, wherever. Isn't nothing at all. Isn't the first or
the second. Isn't meaning anything. Isn't a head or anything at

Isn't meaning anything, because _there_ would be the locus of
meaning - instead we'll foreclose illness, cancel it, cancel
depression for that matter - cancel neurosis, schizophrenia,
psychosis - look for the truth in health - in the post-therapeutic
subject - well-adjusted - now you see the problem - already this
has been deconstructed in rela- tion to the psychoanalytical - but
with the physical, yes, there are still ailments, these carry - if
anything - misrecognitions, misrepresentations - or so it seems -
I'd say, here, otherwise - let's look at fevered texts, convulsive
or epileptic texts - let's look at cancered texts or texts
in-formed by tumors - let's look of the truth of the waning mind -
the consumed body - the body of lesions - body of wounds

I don't mean here, the political economy of this body, or its wit-
nessing - I mean specifically the contribution to philosophy that
emerges - yes, I know otherwise, but bear with me here - next time
you're sick, reread these words - note the transparency of things -
watch the draining of meaning when you're no longer around to main-
tain it - you see again what I'm getting at -

_It's infecting you -_""""

Then that's it. I can't reread it all the time. I don't have much
energy. My chest hurts like hell. Last night woke unable to breathe
for a few frightening seconds. Today better but occasional violent
coughing fits. If it's not the flu, what is it?

"_It's infecting you -_"""""


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