The Question of the Future Itself

In Archive Fever, Derrida will write:

The question of the archive is not a question of the past. It is not the question of a concept dealing with the past that might already be at our disposal. An archivable concept of the archive. It is a question of the future, the question of the future itself, the question of a response, of a promise, and of a responsibility for tomorrow. The archive, if we want to know what that will have meant, we will only know in times to come; not tomorrow, but in times to come. Later on, or perhaps never.

Could we not take this up within Spectral Realism? We could perhaps perform a simple substitution:

The question of the [spectre] is not a question of the past. It is not the question of a concept dealing with the past that might already be at our disposal. [A spectral] concept of the [spectre]. It is a question of the future, the question of the future itself, the question of a response, of a promise, and of a responsibility for tomorrow. The [spectre], if we want to know what that will have meant, we will only know in times to come; not tomorrow, but in times to come. Later on, or perhaps never.

The spectre defies the normal rules of time and space, or rather, shows us that what we take as everyday is actually a misunderstanding. No thing actually follows the average everyday rules of time and space. I encounter memories in the world, as familiar places becomes places from my past that wash over me and submerge me in memory. The past attaches itself to me, as it makes itself present yet again, never truly dying or disappearing. Never disappearing completely. More familiar though is the spectral looming, the perfect haunting. Derrida of course uses the example of Marx(ism) but we need not be political. The spectre is any entity that could be, any thing that exists as possibility. Spectral reminders, while informing us of the past also point us towards the future (the Holy Spirit both reminds us that we are before God as well as the sacrifice of the Christ, the Ghost in Hamlet tells the protagonist of the murder as well as what must be done, while the ghosts of A Christmas Carol show Past, Present, and indicate the Future Yet to Come).

Spectral Realism is first and foremost a metaphysics of time, an understanding of the past as well as the infinity of the future. I have said before that it is a Messianism. By this I don’t mean necessarily the Messianism of redemption as typified in Christianity, but a more general Messianism, perhaps the most general Messianism, that is to say, a constant looking to the future Yet to Come.

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