- 宗教哲学研究 (ISSN:02897105)
- vol.36, pp.1-13, 2019-03-30 (Released:2019-05-22)
In contemporary society, people are increasingly less likely to reject spirits on the grounds that they are not scientifically verifiable. Rather, they accept the reality of spirits if narratives about them heal the narrators. This article describes this phenomenon as the rise of a “narrative reality” of spirits. In order to understand this new attitude, I refer to psychological theories about the deceased, such as S. Freud’s theory on object loss and “mourning work,” D. Klass et al.’s notions of continuing bonds, C. G. Jung’s theories of complex and archetype, and V. Frankl’s ideas about the spiritual person. I then consider two examples of spiritualist practices called “demonstration” based on my fieldwork research in the U.K. and in Japan. I argue that stories of spirits sound realistic when they fit into a preset narrative pattern of the dead watching over the living. Stories of the deceased watching over us aid us in accepting death, of others and ourselves. At the same time, they imply that another Japanese narrative pattern in which the dead punish the living has receded into the background while an expectation that the benevolent dead watch over us has become dominant. Perceivable behind this shift is the fact that the range of sympathy toward the dead is narrowing to only include the deceased who are beloved by family, friends, or acquaintances. Inclusion of the lonely who die with no one to love them will be one of our society’s main tasks to tackle.