The spectres of Derrida

We have several prophets of doom. They proclaim the end of several isms and eras. These endisms have proclaimed the end of Christianity, Marxism and everything that looks solid and lasting. They are haunted by the anxiety of an end. Endism produces a fear of closures. This anxiety produces a fear of losing something. It makes us think that something that we consider precious is in danger. This sense of something precious being in danger generates an anticipatory fear of loss. In Goa, we are haunted by a loss of Goa, Goans, and Goan-ness. It produces several ways that we respond to political, economic, social and religious issues. We can also see that the majority is also gripped by a sense of Hinduism in danger. This fear produces a kind of politics that haunts our society. What it does is put us into a mode of uninterrupted disintegration driven by the hate of the other. We are therefore in the middle of the mode of life that is set into a dynamism that strives to recover that which is considered lost.

It is politics that is produced by the fear of loss of the rock-ground beneath our feet. We are held captive by a horrific fantasy that anticipates the loss before it has occurred. It arrests our thought and makes us act before everything is lost. We are hit by a spectre before the loss has really happened. This means it is a politics of self-preservation. Hence, is called identity politics and is produced by ethnocentrism and xenophobia. It is haunted by politics of memory and loss of inheritance and legacies. It is time that we learn to resist and rise above the syndrome of endism.

We need to make our peace with the fact that time is never in its place. Time is always out of joint. This disjuncture of time cannot be seen as moral or social decay. If we surrender to this thought that thinks of the disjuncture of time like a perversion of the founding values and principles of our society, we will step into identity politics. This lost past orients us to a recovery of a consummated future. What we need is a consummated present where we make peace with our disjointed time. The politics of today is fixated on a lost past and dreams for a consummated future while we shut our eyes to the present. This is perhaps why our people close their eyes to the grave failures of the ruling benches and remain silent to their excesses of exclusion and discrimination in our society. Therefore, it is urgent that we understand and accept the fact about the disjuncture of time. Time is always in the coming. The fact that time passes and stays in the coming, we are always haunted by the past and the future. This is perhaps why we are seized by endism that grips us with the panic of a loss.

This panic of loss becomes capital for those that exploit our fears. Fear is an industry and there are those that create wealth milking our fears and anxieties as raw materials. We can find this clearly at work in the wellness industry, medical establishment and insurance industry etc. Fear and anxiety are great sources of political capital. They produce a sense of loss of inheritance and identity and set in a dynamism of recovery that can degenerate into hate and divisions. It produces a spectral politics that already anticipates the loss and missionizes people to work to preserve the same at several levels. Spectral politics is the return of the repressed and depends on a narrative that challenges its adherents to take pride in their inheritance and identity which is deemed to be threatened.

We can clearly see how spectral politics shamelessly brazens out some things that could not be publicly said or done. Spectral politics manifests a decline in the moral standards of society. We can see this in the silence of some sections of people over gross violations of human rights even to the point of mass lynching. It camouflages our moral depravity and paints mindless murders like mass lynching, riots and vandalism as noble acts. This means spectral politics decriminalizes some of the worst crimes which are considered to be committed to save that which is deemed as being in danger of extinction. Thus, often that which is plain hate speech then becomes one that expresses loyalty and nobility. This means we are living with ghosts and phantoms that are let loose by our fears and anxieties.

Often these fears and anxieties are socially engineered and are therefore unreal. Thus spectral politics is a hauntology. It is never real. It is ghostly and cryptic. Fear of death of inheritance and identity lives in each of us and we live our life to save its death. The death of inheritance and identity are yet to come. In fact, it will easily come. It always remains in its coming. But we jump to a foreclosed thought and belief that that disaster is knocking at our door. The fact is that it is in an already and not yet mode of being. This already and not yet dynamism is phantomic and triggers a politics of recovery that has to be addressed and deconstructed. To do this we need to deconstruct the reining hauntology(ies) . Thus to be able to deconstruct the reigning hauntology, we need the spectres of Jacques Derrida. We need to allow ourselves to be haunted by the spectres of Derrida so that we are enabled to interrogate how we are taken captives by ghosts and phantoms that are induced by unrealistic fears and anxieties. We need the spectres of Derrida to enable us to understand and respond effectively to the hauntolgies that are afflicting us today. It is by distanstiantion that we can see what these hauntologies are doing to us and our society. This awareness achieved through distantiation is therapeutic. It can emancipate us from our chains of enslavement to the politics of spectrality that is ruining our society.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao