Sunday, November 09, 2008


I intend to devote more study to the practice of reading, which is pretty optimistic of me considering how slowly I read. Anyhoo, I may have to check out some books by Colin Davis.

The crucial difference between the two strands of hauntology, deriving from Abraham and Torok and from Derrida respectively, is to be found in the status of the secret. The secrets of Abraham's and Torok's lying phantoms are unspeakable in the restricted sense of being a subject of shame and prohibition. It is not at all that they cannot be spoken; on the contrary, they can and should be put into words so that the phantom and its noxious effects on the living can be exorcized. For Derrida, the ghost and its secrets are unspeakable in a quite different sense. Abraham and Torok seek to return the ghost to the order of knowledge; Derrida wants to avoid any such restoration and to encounter what is strange, unheard, other, about the ghost. For Derrida, the ghost's secret is not a puzzle to be solved; it is the structural openness or address directed towards the living by the voices of the past or the not yet formulated possibilities of the future. The secret is not unspeakable because it is taboo, but because it cannot not (yet) be articulated in the languages available to us. The ghost pushes at the boundaries of language and thought. The interest here, then, is not in secrets, understood as puzzles to be resolved, but in secrecy, now elevated to what Castricano calls ‘the structural enigma which inaugurates the scene of writing’ (Cryptomimesis, p. 30).

(Colin Davis, Hauntology, spectres and phantoms)

Is the openness that listens for the voices of the dead or the unborn also the openness that allows for addenda? The open, the unfinished. Infinitions. Perhaps we may never have enough ways of talking about the open, always risking in our forays the collapse of the one into the other, closures that accidentally become other than temporary, if not permanent, or as good as lost in transit. That's not exactly what was meant. An openness to closures, too.

I'm disquieted by events in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:52 AM.


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