Hauntology – Ghost-Hunting in the Church


Almost thirty years ago, French philosopher Jacques Derrida minted a peculiar term that has come to have an ambivalent value as a currency: Hauntology.  Derrida introduced the word in his 1993 book, Spectres of Marx.  Hauntology was his portmanteau term (i.e., haunting and ontology) referring to the return or persistence of elements from the past, as in the manner of a ghost. Derrida wrote his book after the collapse of communism, and his term was meant to refer to the atemporal nature of Marxism – and chiefly its propensity and to be able to “haunt Western society from beyond the grave”.

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Righteous Anger

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Aggression and rage is almost always understood as negative, and often equated with violence.  Yet feminist writes such as Kathleen Greider call for a proper reappraisal of aggression and its place.  She points that the Latin etymology of ‘aggression’ lies in the verb aggredi, meaning ‘to move towards’, and she uses an intriguing working definition that is significant for our discussion here. 

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Speaking Love to Truth

Kindness begins with truth. Too often we suppose that truth largely exists in the realms of fact. That love is an emotion, and so fickle, and may cloud our judgment. And that faith fluctuates on band-waves of differing consistencies.  Facts are solid, consistent reliable, sure. Emotions and affairs of the heart are liable to oscillation and vacillation, and they waver across the undulating contours of human feeling.

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Speaking Truth to Power

Nobody can be released from their mind.  This is a sentence from which there is no remission.  True, people speak of ‘losing their minds’, but in fact they don’t ever lose them. They only get lost in them.  I reckon we get lost in our thoughts most days. But your thoughts are yours, and whilst you can share them with your friends and neigbours, and even publish them like this, they are your thoughts, and they are therefore most at home in you.

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