The culture of the present is haunted by the lost potential of possible futures that never came to be. Mark Fisher has a name for this tendency, in which contemporary culture bears the mournful traces of past futures; he calls it hauntology. If we are to escape our haunted present we must establish a new relationship with the future. But that will also require a new relationship with the past. We can’t simply dismiss as mistaken those people who lived their present motivated by ideas of a future that failed to appear. We can’t just say they lived mistaken lives. The future is not the present, even if some in the mid 1990s thought it was. All potential timelines keep flowing into the future and yet the future never fills up.
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