Reference : Les morts utiles
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Anthropology
Les morts utiles
[en] Useful dead
Despret, Vinciane mailto [Université de Liège > Département de philosophie > Département de philosophie >]
Terrain: Revue d'Ethnologie de l'Europe
Les morts utiles
Le Plessis-Robinson
[fr] Fantômes, deuil, inspiration, carrière post-mortem, , possession, spirites
[en] the useful dead, ghosts, post mortem career, spirits, inspiration, possession
[en] It is not unusual nowadays to hear of people telling us that individuals who had been close to them have helped them after death. These people may have told them what to do when they were faced with difficulties, comforted them, sent them messages of reassurance or even have given them advice. We find this kind of phenomenon in a remarkable number of cultures throughout the world. In this way then it is possible for the dead to continue to help and to engage in fruitful post mortem careers which enrich the lives of living people who may have been close to them and in some cases of strangers who can become the channels for this unexpected help. In this way vocations may be created, whether these be those of the departed or those who benefit from the received guidance acting either as experts or merely as helpers. These post mortem destinies do not simply follow from the realisation of such a vocation. All sorts of careers are open to the dead, whether these result from their own free will or not. They are called upon to participate in exchanges of services or of goods; they may be asked to reorganise solidarities. Sometimes the dead may even be expected to participate in political projects.
[fr] Il n’est pas rare de nos jours d’entendre des personnes affirmer que leurs proches défunts les ont aidées, après leur disparition. Ils les ont guidées dans les difficultés, consolées, ils leur ont envoyé des messages de réconfort ou même des conseils. Ce phénomène se retrouve dans de nombreuses cultures et connaît parfois une extension assez remarquable. Il arrive que des morts puissent ainsi reprendre du service et connaître des carrières post mortem fécondes qui enrichissent la vie des vivants, non seulement des proches, mais également des étrangers capables d’accueillir cette aide inattendue. De véritables vocations se créent, tant pour les disparus que pour ceux qui bénéficient de leur guidance, de leur expertise ou de leur aide. Les destins post mortem ne se limitent pas à des éveils de vocation. Des carrières en tous genres sont offertes aux morts, qu’ils participent, selon leur volonté ou non, à des échanges de services ou de biens, au réaménagement des solidarités, parfois même à des projets politiques.
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