The past inside the present

You know what? The fatuous musings over here might not be ENTIRELY fatuous. I was just re-reading R.G. Collingwood's brill Autobiography (the spark that lit the Cambridge School fire) and seriously, if the hauntologists need a more coherent theory than just "something with ghosts in", then they can do worse than this:

'...the modern historian can study the Middle Ages ... only because they are not dead. By that I mean not that their writings and so forth are still in existence as material objects, but that their ways of thinking are still in existence as ways in which people think.'

...the past which an historian studies is not a dead past, but a past which in some sense is still living in the present.'

Although the metaphor Collingwood goes for is not ghosts but light. Paraphrased:

'...the present is not opaque, it is transparent, so that the past shines through it and their colours combine into one.'

Fitting, since history is what will save humanity from the abuses of technological power witnessed in the 1910s. Less nostalgia or fear of the repressed, more augmentation of consciousness -- becoming 'a great many kinds of man' (pre-feminism, this) able to deal with every situation effectively to advance the interests of all.

So not really hauntology then... Call it what it is: an idealism which Hegel might recognise...

I like it. For me it sounds like this and this and this and this...

1 comment:

  1. From the fb discussion, elaborating my stance a bit more:

    I think hauntology is abt more than just the influence of the past -- it's the past inspiring dissatisfaction with the present capitalist "reality". For one, Derrida might want to think again about how much of capitalism is just a mental construct, but disregarding that, my problem is that ghosts don't cut it. Gloom and nostalgia isn't inspirational enough.

    The artists at the end aren't hauntologists, no. I picked them out because that kind of music is suggestive of multiple (international) experiences and traditions swirled together -- something I find more exciting and 'inspiring'.

    ...then again, it's hardly more likely to inspire revolutions, is it? So all of the above is just pointless pretension. Reading bits about the student protests, the soundtrack to insurrection seems to be aggressive party-smashers like 'Next Hype' and 'Pow'...