What is the obverse of “ghost” and “haunting”?

We’ve spoken about ghosts here and there. Lately, with reunion looming, I feel like I am haunting my own life, finding might-have-been footsteps; meeting could-have-been friends and, inch’allah, even family.

But the metaphor is bothering me. A ghost is the immaterial which haunts the physical plane of the past, of what was. What is it when our physical self falls into phase with a phantom “future”, a ruptured would-have-been?

9 thoughts on “What is the obverse of “ghost” and “haunting”?

  1. I would go with ‘disrupture of pleasant dreams and terrifying nightmares’ that supplants surreal might-have-beens with the tangible presence of now.

  2. I don’t know, but I do remember that pondering the might-have-beens was never productive for me in any context. I lived away from my home country for nearly 30 years and missed so much of my country’s development, of friendships which ultimately were ruptured or undeveloped and of so many events and happenings, time I can never make up. It’s a trade off or the many, many things I learned from being in another Hemisphere, including getting to know the places of my ancestors, although I didn’t know that then. I’ve suffered nightmares all my life, often recurring ones involving being alone in a place I don’t know without ID, money or memory of where I came from. I’ve found that in my waking life it’s more productive to live as much as possible ‘in the now’.

  3. Thanks for these replies…I don’t know that I’m doing anything other than “living in the now”—plus we don’t have much choice in Lebanon. But there are moments that catch up with me and surprise me; like walking and walking and then going to take a step and noticing that your footprint is already there somehow. I’m wondering (rhetorically) if we have a concept for such a thing. Kind of like reincarnation, but of our own selves and in our own lifetimes.

  4. “Image Is Psyche”…..Carl Jung. Whatever the metaphor, the world, our world, through our eyes is, I believe, a reflection of adumbration, anticipation, yearning, lacuna, need, etc. We have little control. We have an illusion of control sometime—mechanical exercises and tricks to focus of ‘living in the moment’ etc.—but in the end, Psyche will always have her way (I believe). E.R. Dodds once wrote that the ancient Greeks never “had” a dream. They always were “visited” by dreams. I believe that.

  5. The phrase “going to take a step and noticing that your footprint is already there somehow” resonates to deja vu for me.

    Also, the experience of the numinous–“(1) related to a numen; indicating the presence of a divinity or spiritual entity; (2) awe-inspiring; evoking a sense of the transcendent, mystical or sublime” points to an invisible presence not at all linked with the past. It might have only to do with the present, but just as likely might portend a prophetic element about the future.

    Those are my contributions to this.

    • Yes, deja vu kind of describes it. Though ever since someone “debunked” deja vu for me—a misfiring/misfiling in the brain—I don’t give much weight to the experience when it does happen. As well, it’s momentary, and not cumulative. Meaning, it happens, but it is not connected to past deja-vus; it doesn’t build or expand….

      What I do know is that I’m not sure I can stand this accrual that the possibility of reunion and post-reunion seem to portend. And here I’m at a loss as to what to do….

      • But sometimes I think it can. I’ve had a series of dreams/deja vu incidents which have been going on my whole life – same theme different scenes. It has built and expanded until some hope some sense was apparent for me. In relation to reunion all you can do is nothing. You can’t drive it, anticipate it, create it or direct it. It will be what it is.

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