I am not going to argue that ghosts exist.
I am, however, going to argue that ghosts are awesome and universal, repeated and folded over throughout cultures and myths. And I think that to ignore our historical appreciation of life, death and myth in favor of facts and iPhones does us all an artistic and philosophical disservice.
The last thirty years have been unprecedented in their modernization and virtual integrations. We are the first generation to transcend the physical for the virtual but we cannot make ourselves independent of our history.
Ghosts are memory, both of our past and of our superstitions.
Let’s be rooted in the mystery of life and take a moment to appreciate the vagueness of death.
Ghosts are mysterious, intentionally so.
In a quantifiable world where the hard math and sciences seem to reign supreme, it’s nice to have a pocket of the artistic and odd.
(Tech folk: forgive my bitterness: I majored in “being literate.” It wasn’t the best choice but you don’t choose your soul.)
As far as ghosts, I subscribe to their aesthetic for reasons that escape me. That’s what I like about ghosts. They escape you. That’s their purpose. They exist in our art and culture as permanent ambiguity- flashes, glimpses of uncertainty. It’s spooky, surreal.
In a world of science and numbers, something as intentional weird and impossible as a ghost is amazing.
In a world of fast-moving cultural trends and instantly updating feeds it’s nice to be grounded in something else.
Ghosts are the past. And, more importantly, they’re timeless.
Of course, they’re dead people. They inherently are tied to the past, but that’s not what I mean. I’m referring to the Americana of it: the Charlie Brown ghost, so to speak, or the Casper figure, or just the “white sheet, black eyes” simple sketch any child can produce on Halloween.
Ghosts are egalitarian, and they’re immune to trends.
Ghosts are forever.
I like that ghosts are the least trendy supernatural being.
Vampires are obviously played out. Werewolves too. There was even a mummy hiccup a decade ago, spawning the franchise of the same time.
Ghosts have been forgotten despite their ubiquity. Part of that is because of their ubiquity. For the reasons above you can’t grasp a ghost. You can’t exploit it. It’s of the people, not the studio. Horror movies have edged toward demons and people and puppets with saws (as is my Wikipedia-gleaned understanding of the Saw franchise.)
Ghosts have escaped unspoiled.
It’s fun to have a thing.
Sure, we make fun of hipsters, but God, isn’t it fun to have an aesthetic? Mine involves Drake lyrics, uniqlo socks, joints rolled by other people, red tootsie-roll pops and ghosts. And if you don’t think that sounds like a decently cool person, we’re not going to get along.
Some things have been ruined by the burden of their fandoms. Just try being a Kanye West fan in today’s day and age for the sake of his music. But ghosts? Ghosts are both pristine and universal, spooky and silly. They’re everything all at once.
They can be yours, too.