I have noticed that I am at my worst when there is a “me” of which to speak. What I mean is that anxiety, paranoia, hubris, jealousy, and disdain are profoundly individuating affects. So, it is when I can say “I” and believe it – when the power of a certain spirit in me and of me mistakes itself as human and buys into the myth of interiority – that I scramble and flail. It is then that I spill more, and punish myself for it.

I do not want the pronoun with which I write to have stable referent. I want (it) to be referentially unfaithful. I want it to become undone, discombobulated, to no longer make any sense – for when I care about it, I become small and, most importantly, sharp (not as in smart or witty but jagged, uncomfortable, discomforting, a pain in my own heart).

Now contrast these feelings with the expansiveness of joy, the warmth of a certain convalescence.

I have never loved a group of persons so intensely. Sometimes I do not know what to do with this love. Sometimes I forget that none of us really have names and I begin to want one or several for myself. This is greed, and this is lust, but those are also types of love and that’s something we tend to forget so the question becomes not one of love versus its other but types of love and types of joy and types of being with you all that’s more like a welcomed dissolution back home into the new old place like when Jerly finally lets go of the couch and allows us to squeeze her. But all of this is still quite scary because even though I know this “we” is a sea (we are in it and of it at the same time as its texture is made up of nothing other than us), I can nonetheless point to specific features with which I am still falling in love. Sometimes I call them “Anna,” and “Peter,” and sometimes “Dave, “Brian,” “Sam,” “Dylan,” now often “Emma,” “Devin,” “Maggs.” (And where have “Christie” and “Chris” gone? Weren’t they here? I miss them, too, even as I continue to fall deeply in love with the absence of what belongs to them and has left its trace in a mirror or on a hat).

But to whom do those features belong? Do they have names? Do they belong to anyone or anything? Surely, I cannot claim any for myself. And I know this fact, this impropriety, so well and yet here this writing is birthed from a desire to possess them and possess him and possess moments and time (possess time?) and durational things that are not mine because I am nobody apart from this sea but then there’s that smile and I want it again just like it happened the first time but I’ve made a fool of myself by naming it, by giving myself away to a name and a body and a style and a pattern but through all that I still long for the earth, the dirt, the way all the things get all mixed up there and also maybe the possibility that there too I can be with you all in some other way in some more permanent or durable fashion because things as they proceed are weighed down with too-muchness, overflowing with too-muchness, I am really losing a grip on all of it in the worst way so ideation becomes a kind of agency whereby I can draw maps of some external bundle of forces (but the sea is there too because if interiority is a false menace then so is its opposite, you understand?). Persons are traits of affective bundles, and nobody owns a smile because a smile comes out of nowhere (a nowhere that is not nothing, you understand?).

I want free from possession and its carceral hold on joy, desire, earthliness, flesh. I want nothing more than to die. I want to die so, so badly. I want to die every moment of every day, in a day that is itself dying! And I get my wish! A little death, every moment, with every instantaneous change – here it is, there it has gone. Gone forever, now only in the virtual plane of memory containing all loves and smiles and flutters and cries. Can we go there? It would not be a return – no, we are done with nostalgia, done with the longing that dulls and makes small. It is expansiveness we want and expansiveness for which we aim, expansiveness we contain. And it’s here! Just look at your hands and the mirror and the moss.

But how do I ask someone if they want to hold hands without defeating the very thing that animated such tendency? No progress has been made here. We are dancing in circles. It is that in the center toward which I aim (please, don’t scare it! don’t make it go!) I will embark on a vow of silence! A new year’s resolution! 365 days without speaking aloud! To make myself small not in the way so far disparaged but in a much subtler manner, one that works itself into the cracks and the pores and undoes it all, undoes the knots, disintegrates all the crust on top – the ego crust (and that is all the ego is! crust upon crust, a reaction formation) – for all of this is necessary if one is to become capable of loving without remembering. The only adventure worthwhile! The only one we are on!

But without remembering, can we really mean this? There will be a time when I meet you again, Anna, and you, Peter and Emma, and you, and you, and you. There will be a time when I meet you again for the very first time. I will meet you again for the first time. I am meeting you again for the very first time. At the end of time. “When it is all said and done” – we will be there where we are! A difference without separation, without memory, without imagination – all of those perishable parts abolished and absolved – as if there were anything to absolve! – no more goodbyes, no more memories, no more names. I walk into the coffee shop and there! eternity, again. (I brush it away).

Oh, but I can still hear the wails in the background! The despair! The goodbyes that precede this finality! The fact remains that I am all too catastrophically in love with everything that has a name – I attach my joy to you and to this and to that and to you and I call that attachment love which is joy plus the idea of it being caused by some external object which means I am working with and fumbling over inadequate ideas because you are really everything that is outside you and if that’s the case then joy is more careful than love, more expansive, more precise, more fragile and real because it has no object, no name, nothing to which it might attach itself, tether it. Joy is answerable to no one! Joy is existence itself! And this existence includes you and even the names as they begin to float freely, free of referent, free of preconceived notions, free of responsibility. Do you see? Do you see the predicament? (You understand?)

I am endeavoring to learn to know and to feel and experience and believe that whatever time I have spent with you all is already enough! (How could it be otherwise, when eternity knows nothing of scarcity, knows nothing of lack or frustration? Nothing of measurement!) And yet the available language forces one into the corner of love – of speaking in terms of a love that is rapacious and greedy and spills over and wants more of it all for it is a love that cannot bear the withering away of its all too possessive memory (memory makes certain claims) – but then the hold that it has on others is the hold it places on itself so it learns to seek recognition, to want names, to nourish the very ego away from which our nameless companion must slip… What would it mean for “me” to never see “you” again as a condition of meeting in the dark light of eternity’s forgetting? Eternity is a forgetting machine! It is a machine whose activity is forgetting – but a forgetting that preserves! How to think this? How to affirm this when one has a crush on the world, on all the things inside and outside it, wedged between lips and muscles, occasionally hitting you square on the jaw? I want to kill myself! I am too in love with existence! This love is intolerable because there is nowhere to put it! I have stuffed it into many drawers and mouths and pockets – they are all miserably pregnant, bursting at the seams with a life that is no longer mine, it is too beautiful to be mine, is too holy for first or second- or third-person pronouns it is too bountiful for possession – a beatific machine! An angel! An angel! An angel! An angel to which I belong!

An angel – yes now we are getting somewhere. An angel to which we belong, an angel that forms and deforms us in its wings and its gears (with angels, there are no metaphors, which gives one permission to mix them). The angel “has us” in the same way that “Anna smiles” and “Peter laughs” and one “has ideas” so when I am talking to you I am talking to a part of my body which means I am not talking to you but something is talking (in) us – something is speaking us and playing us and doing us and moving us and we belong to it, the time and space and direction of inverted possession. We are nothing but possessed! We are forgetting and forgotten. And, yes, we coincide with eternity – an angel body, a spiritual migratory bird, incorporating pieces and leaving things behind but the trace too still pertaining to what we deform – we are swimming in its veins! We are kissing like capillaries! And we are necessary, we are so necessary for without us there is no earth, no life – you cannot take us away, the forgetting is not a taking away, the forgetting is a preservation, we are points of contact always meeting always meeting again for the very first time! It is heaven! What has happened is heaven! What has happened is happening! What has happened is beatitude! There is neither before nor after. There is neither beginning nor end. Everything happens at once – understand this! (You understand!) We’re all mixed up and churning and floating and sometimes meeting and departing but still happening and the happening is not our doing we are meeting and it is not our doing we are departing and it is not our fault we are holding hands and they are neither mine nor yours for they belong to existence and existence is joy, infinite joy, joy without object, joy beyond particularity, joy beyond faces and names, beyond love, yes beyond even love! – a joy without attachment because it is existence itself that finds us, and cradles us, and lets us go and asks for our phone number and kisses us goodbye again for the very first time! always for the very first time!

For the very first time I am falling in love with existence itself and this existence includes you and you express this existence. You are expression, pure expression – pure joy, unmixed and, for that, vertiginous. And I cannot find myself in this existence! I cannot locate myself! What freedom! To be nameless, faceless, as quiet as a mouse but pervasive and scattered and turned inside out – what ecstasy one finds in these little pools of immanence! We are skating on the surface of eternity and below the ice it is still eternity and in the air we breathe it is more eternity and in our socks and our bodies and our thoughts and our feelings, eternity, eternity, eternity! It is laughter! Such a light and clumsy thing! How unserious it all is! I could fall through or be swept up – it would matter not, for I am already lost and losing still more until the last thread of my own individuality dissipates in a flash, in an image, an image oh so familiar, don’t you remember it! You were there that day – you were the flash, the big forgetting, the when-all-is-said-and-done! The joy of loss, of losing! Eternity: a forgetting that takes away nothing. (You understand!)

Eric Aldieri is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago. He is writing on issues of perception and soteriology in Deleuze's reception of Spinoza. You can reach him at ealdieri@depaul.edu.