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Essais: Of Haunted Houses

Updated: Apr 18

Living in an age that is the most recent, where history is (allegedly) behind us, and the future still pixelated from view (supposedly), it is hard to imagine what a paradigm shift in thinking looks like. The firehose of irrelevant information one has the opportunity to consume daily, also does not help. When Darwin brought the Origin of Species over to North America in 1859, as in Europe, it challenged the concept of an all-powerful creator who had meticulously designed all life. If instead life evolved, man was simply part of a natural process, and there was no higher, spiritual plan for him.

Nietzsche famously noted, '“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him."'

But also, we have Emily Dickinson. Struck by this paradigm shift in taking god out of the equation, she wrote,

“I understand Darwin did away with the Saviour.”

And I would be remiss here to not also quote from another poem Dickinson wrote, processing the Darwinian displacement of god, she observes: “nature is a haunted house.” I think we could bridge this out to meet Nietzsche, that with god expunged, society at large became a haunted house. The ghouls wore name badges, largely all ending in 'ism' and it seems like we're still waiting on the ghostbusters.

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