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Mimetism was not Rene Girard original idea. It can be traced to David Hume who observed one's actions reverberates to the rest like the strings of a violin. It describes humans as a social specie, prone to co-vibrations aka under the influence of other people's actions.
The basic mimetic behaviour manifests in society in more meaningful ways:
Mimesis is both the strongest and necessary authority for us to hold normative values. It more than any faculty decides what we think of beautiful, as good ... what laws we think of just or what sexual relationships we think of as legitimate or depraved. Even what we strive to be like.
Mimetic desire can be separated in:
ex: We may chase a sexual partner for how they make us feel or for the social status of being with them. We may start a company for the thrill of the struggle or because we want to be like like the Silicon Valley tech bros.
The balance of the 2 will vary from person to person, but pride and ambition are strongly correlated with metaphysical desire.
Metaphysical desire is focused on our identity, our ego, our spirit ... the core of what we are. This itself can be broken down into 3 components:
We crave objects because other people we look up are associated with those objects: a celebrity, a parent, a colleague etc... The faulty logic being that our acquisition of the object will grant us the same sense of being as our role-model.
Desire is not a straight line from subject to object, but a triangular path to object through the role model.
Not all our actions will be motivated by metaphysical desire, but out of the possible motivations ... it is the strongest. In commercial terms it means products that focus on it will command the most value.
It explains the success of branding, the celebrity culture and consumerism as a whole.
Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.
The second part of the lecture on Girard. More in depth look at desires.
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