Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World 1st Edition
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, the subtext Girard refutes with polemic daring, vast erudition, and a persuasiveness that leaves the reader compelled to respond, one way or another.
This is the single fullest summation of Girard’s ideas to date, the book by which they will stand or fall. In a dialogue with two psychiatrists (Jean-Michel Oughourlian and Guy Lefort), Girard probes an encyclopedic array of topics, ranging across the entire spectrum of anthropology, psychoanalysis, and cultural production.
Girard’s point o departure is what he calles “mimesis,” the conflict that arises when human rivals compete to differentiate themselves from each other, yet succeed only in becoming more and more alike. At certain points in the life of a society, according to Girard, this mimetic conflict erupts into a crisis in which all difference dissolves in indiscriminate violence. In primitive societies, such crises were resolved by the “scapegoating mechanism,” in which the community, en masse, turned on an unpremeditated victim. The repression of this collective murder and its repetition in ritual sacrifice then formed the foundations of both religion and the restored social order.
How does Christianity, at once the most “sacrificial” of religions and a faith with a non-violent ideology, fit into this scheme? Girard grants Freud’s point, in Totem and Taboo
, that Christianity is similar to primitive religion, but only to refute Freud—if Christ is sacrificed, Girard argues, it is not becuase God willed it, but becaus ehuman beings wanted
The book is not merely, or perhaps not mainly, biblical exegesis, for within its scope fall some of the most vexing problems of social history—the paradox that violance has social efficacy, the function of the scapegoat, the mechanism of anti-semitism.
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The recommendation of this book by Peter Thiel has brought a lot of people to it which is a good thing but those who complain they don’t understand it seem to be expecting it to read like your average fluff management book.
Please, this man is an intellectual and his ideas are revolutionary. The disciplines have a habit of attacking anyone who crosses disciplinary lines into interdisciplinary thought and this is no surprise at all. Read it for yourself and be open minded. Girard is not just a historian, not just a literary critic, and not just a philosopher.
More than any other book in this century that I’ve read, this has been the most life changing. I found the theories practical (shown in the secondary literature) and life affirming.
Concepts are not that unique.....but the roundabout way discussion ensues is maddening.
Investment in Enron seems more appealing..
His lens is what he calls mimeticism by which he seems to mean as I understand it a near total or total lack of individuation, being incapable of thinking outside of the box, being incapable of really seeing, and becoming in effect "Mass Man". At it's lowest level it seems to amount to "monkey see, monkey do". He never once though mentions the word individual or individuation. The scapegoater and scapegoat is central to his thesis and who or what after all is the scapegoater if not the denier of what the scapegoater himself is actually doing. The scapegoater therefore is the unconscious man incapable of seeing himself and/or other.
There is something powerful true about what the author is writing about and for that reason it is worth reading Gerard but his category, mimeticism is like a lens through which he sees only the mimetic and never reaches into a deeper level like he got stuck there and cannot proceed. On everything he puts the same suit of clothes. He does, despite this fault see much of great interest and will continue to read Gerard to try to discern what seems to be missing.
There is of course the introject which is integral to mimeticism but introjection could not cover all the territory Gerard is cover with mimeticism so in reading I have to try to keep from choking on the reductionist word he uses ad infinitum - mimeticism (choke, choke, choking )-:))))))))=
I do though find his writing very interesting.
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