Saturday, October 31, 2009

On Ghosts and Such

It is fitting, as tonight is Halloween, to speak of ghosts. Ghosts of memory (we are haunted by memories), ghosts of our dreams and phantasies (what Freud called "wish-fulfillment"), and the specters that disturb the vitality of our meanings, that scare the wits out of any deepest intention.

I refer in the last instance, of course, to the ghostly "quality" of our language. What we breathe into life with speech is haunted also by a g(h)as(tly), presence. The terror of the absence of a secure, tangible body of meaning to hold, which casts our speech cast-away, derelict, waifish.

When we speak what we mean we mean more than we wish. And less. Our language itself, our grammar and its laws, is possessed of itself, and in itself always bear the mark of a a history beyond (but within) the singular unity that is spoken when we say what we mean. When it says more than we mean as we speak. As I write.

Nietzsche reminds of this, exposes this to us--for we always knew it, and our love sprang from this polysemia. Nietzsche loved too deeply to let the lie persist, upon which time he realized he couldn't love any longer.

We are introduced to a new concept, which emerges for the first time with Nietzsche, and in another context, with Kierkegaard: the concept of the will to power, which is nothing more or less than the will to belief, or, what is the same, a will to fiction, to the profoundly superficial, to Baubo's mystery, to laughter.

And to language. Many commentators on Nietzsche do not understand the extremely creative manner of Nietzsche's prose, of his lyrical ping-pong match of meanings that resound throughout the corpus of the sheaf that is the envelop of Nietzsche's meaning. What does he mean, after all?

Nietzsche is the first person who wites for us to ask this question, with the trembling apprehension of a lover.

We shouldn't be surprised. Love is spectral, phantastic, hauntingly possessive, terrifyingly intrasitive; profoundly narcissistic. Love delivers our messages, but never to anyone other than ourselves, the ghosts of meaning that are intangible, but which elicit the electrification of our skin, our hair stands on end, our spine wavers. We sent these devils away without question itself: we exorcised ourselves of them.

And when you allowed the tighly bound appendage to remain mummified, the bone one eats around, then the ghosts seemed to have evacuated the burial ground of my love. The dry, dead earth chaps whatever friction might have generated heat, and the gasp of the ghastly rasps its way out of parted lips. Heraclitus' heat banishing moisture, drunkenness, Dionysus.

And I was left with parted lips, with the return of the question, of the phantastic wheeling-back-upon of the repressed, which refused to be condensed, rarified; entombed. The death of narcissus, the death of the cicada.

The death of love, when that ghost is exorcised--or what is the same: when it re-possesses in the return of the repressed: the haunting of memory--this is the moment at which point Nietzsche takes up his spur and writes (the trace). As if to conjure back those life-giving specters.

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