top of page
  • Writer's picturedavidauten

Hauntology of the Human Spirit

There is a sadness that haunts essential to our humanity; the drive in American culture to feel good, whether through medication or meditation, self-help or self-denial, maximizing or minimizing, cannot magically erase the mess we are: an elegance of hope and despair coinciding, light and dark, possibility and failure, opposing forces, together not apart. Why does such honesty frighten us? Authentic belonging is born of integration (not elimination). The emotional complexity of our inner world is a treasure trove, and one of our great teachers. Anxiety evolved within us as a utility, essential for survival, woven into the tapestry of human existence as part of the amygdala’s development of our fight or flight response beyond otherwise freezing in the face of fear. Still, we shun the feeling, distrusting it, rarely even curious what this ancient sage might have to offer us beyond, and perhaps through, its discomforts, instead intent on its extermination by medical and mystical means. Melancholy, too, so often treated with disdain, quietly contributes to our integrity, a sober reminder of the cost of being: life as mysterious gift and burden, miraculous, and at times, maddening.

Jacques Derrida noticed how the dead can be more alive, more powerful, more influential at times, than the living. The deceased, and other past elements of our lives, continue to visit us, silent specters offering an indelible and invisible shaping to current experience. Haunted by the ghosts of what used to be, and apparitions of opportunities never come to pass, we may very well be inclined to reminisce from time to time, as well as reconsider the very meaning of our lives. To engage even briefly in a cursory hauntology of your own spirit is to see how these phantasms, despite their immateriality, are as much a part of us as bone and blood, and, while denying their presence is impossible, acceptance (ironically) unveils the simultaneity of their absence, setting both them and us free, living no longer haunted by a past or future but as spirited individuals fully belonging to the present.


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page