Derrida’s Specters of Marx

Derrida: Specters of Marx
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
(Notes from the text)
Intro: How to learn to live finally; a time without tutelary present; Being-with specters would also be a politics of memory, inheritance, and of generations; future-to-come: proceeds from the future
xx: A spectral moment, a moment that no longer belongs to time, if one understands by this word the linking of modalized presents (past, present, actual present: ‘now,’ future present). We are questioning in this instant, we are asking outselves about this instant that is not docile to time, at least to what we call time. Furtive and untimely, the appartition of the specter does not belong to that time, it does not give time, not that one.
6: “The specter is a paradoxical incorporation, the becoming-body, a certain phenomenal and carnal form of the spirit. It becomes, rather, some “thing” that remains difficult to name: neither soul nor body, and both one and the other. For it is flesh and phenomenality that give to the spirit its spectral apparition, but which disappear right away in the apparition, in the very coming of the revenant or the return of the specter. There is something disappeared, departed in the apparition itself as reapparition of the departed. The spirit, the specter are not the same thing; but as for what they have in common, one does not know what it is, what it is presently. It is something that one does not know, precisely, and one does not know if precisely it is, if it exists, if it responds to a name and corresponds to an essence. One does not know: not out of ignorance, but because this non-object, this non-present present, this being-there of an absent or departed one no longer belongs to knowledge.”
10: “Repetition and first time: this is perhaps the question of the event as question of the ghost. What is a ghost? What is the effectivity or the presence of a specter that is, of what seems to remain as ineffective, virtual, insubstantial as a simulacrum? Is there there, between the thing itself and its simulacrum, an opposition that holds up? Repetition and first time, but also repetition and last time, since the singularity of any first time makes of it also a last time. Each time it is the event itself, a first time is a last time. Althogether other. Staging for the end of history. Let us call it a hauntology. This logic of haunting would be not merely larger and more powerful than an ontology or a thinking of Being (of the “to be.” Assuming that it is a matter of Being in the “to be or not to be,” but nothing is less certain).”
17: Since the future, then, since the past as absolute future, since the non-knowledge and the non-advent of an event, of what remains to be: to do and to decide. If “since Marx” names a future-to-come as much as a past, the past of a proper name, it is because the proper of a proper name will always remain to come.
18: Time is out of joint: time is disarticulated, dislocated, dislodged, time is run down, on the run and run down, deranged, both out of order and mad. Time is off its hinges, time is off course, beside itself, disadjusted.
31: No differance without alterity, no alterity without singularity, not singularity without here-now.
39: Why in both cases is the specter felt to be a threat? What is the time and what is the history of a specter? Is there a present of the specter? Are its comings and goings ordered according tot eh linear succession of a before and an after, between a present-past, a present-present, and a present-future, between a ‘real time’ and a ‘deferred time’?
97: The one who has disappeared appears still to be there, and his apparition is not nothing. It does not do nothing. Assuming that the remains can be identified, we know better than ever today that the dead must be able to work.
99: There are several times of the specter. It is a proper characteristic of the specter, if there is any, that non one can be sure if by returning it testifies to a living past or to a living future, for the revenant may already marks the promised return of the specter of living being.
100: There is no Dasein of the specter, but there is not Dasein without the uncanniness, without the strange familiarity of some specter.
101: The specters appears to present itself during a visitation.
102: (Since this singular end of the political would correspond to the presentation of an absolutely living reality, this is one more reason to think that the essence fo the political will always have the inessential figure, the very anessessence of a ghost.
109: The conjuration is anxiety from the moment it calls upon death to invent the quick and to enliven the new, to summon the presence of what is not yet there.
109: The dividing link passes between a mechanical reproduction of the specter and an appropriation that is so alive, so interiorizing, so assimilating of the inheritance and of the ‘spirits of the past’ that it is none other than the life of forgetting, life as forgetting itself. And the forgetting of the maternal in order to make the spirit live in oneself.
110: This forgetting is only a forgetting. For what one must forget will have been indispensable. One must pass through the pre-inheritance, even if it is to parody it, in order to appropriate the life of a new language or make the revolution. And while the forgetting corresponds to the moment of living appropriation, Marx nevertheless does not valorize it simply as one might think. Things are very complicated. One must forget the specter and the parody, Marx seems to say, so that history can continue. But of one is content to forget it, then the result is bourgeois platitude: life, that’s all. So one must not forget it, one must remember it but while forgetting it enough, in this very memory, in order to ‘find again the spirit of the revolution without making its specter return.
115: All the same, in the past revolution, when the gravediggers were alive, in sum, the phrase exceeded the content. Whence the anachrony of a revolutionary present haunted by its antique models. But in the future, and already in the social revolution of the nineteenth century still to come in Marx’s view (the whole novelty fo the new would inhabit this social dimension, beyond the political or economic revolution, the anachrony or untimeliness will not be erased in some plentitude of the parousia and the presence to itself of the present. Time will still be ‘out of joint.’
117: Must one not think that the loss of the body can affect the specter itself? To the point that it is then impossible to discern between the specter and the specter of the specter, the specter searching for proper content and living effectivity?
123: The history of the ghost remains a history of phantomalization and the latter will indeed be a history of truth, a history of the becoming-true of a fable, unless it is the reverse, a fabulation of truth, in any case a history of ghosts. The phenomenology of spirit describes (1) the relation of consciousness to the object as truth or as relation to the truth as mere object; (2) the relation of consciousness, insofar as it is the true, to the object; (3) the true relation of consciousness with truth

From Tom Lewis’ essay, “The Politics of ‘Hauntology’ in Derrida’s Specters of Marx,” in Ghostly Demarcations:

140: “In this light, Derrida goes on to assert the need to replace ‘ontology’ with its near homonym ‘hauntology’: ‘To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here a hauntology. Ontology opposes it only in a movement of exorcism.’


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