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Imitation is the economic engine of most businesses—just look at the big social media companies or fashion brands—but it’s always disguised.

  • Imitation is a powerful force in our world, but it is rarely acknowledged. Its effects are cleverly masked as fashion, trends, and staying up-to-date.
  • Advertisements never say "Buy this because others are doing it," yet that is the implicit message. In the corporate world, this is known as benchmarking or viral marketing.
  • Manipulating imitation is the easiest way to control people and it is hidden due to its power.

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MORE IDEAS ON THIS

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TED GIOIA

"When Girard writes about ancient Greek tragedy, he seems to be describing Instagram and social media. When he analyzes Flaubert or the Book of Genesis, he somehow explicates the current political situation. By looking at what’s old, he clarifies what’s new."

TED GIOIA

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Artistic idioms often originate in imitation and ritualized sacrifice.

  • Girard doesn't often talk about entertainment, but his ideas have a lot to say about performers and critics.
  • For i...

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Humans fail to perceive own scapegoats—so persecution continues while everybody absolves themselves from guilt.

  • Girard is blind to his own complicity in scapegoating, a phenomenon that he even admits affects all individ...

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Enemies resemble each other, because of mimetic rivalry, but this is another secret that cannot be mentioned.

  • In sports and life, rivals often share more in common than they realize. They become "enemies" in pursuit of the same goal, b...

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Our culture rightly celebrates the help and defense of victims, but we need to be vigilant against a ‘super-victimology’ in which this merely leads to targeting and punishing new scapegoats.

All too often, we are forced into the role of either v...

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continued..

continued..

  • Our instinct is to respond to violence with violence, but the higher path is to reject scapegoating and revenge.
  • Girard warns that modern scapegoating rituals are now ineffective in b...

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We need to expose the deadly disguises of imitation, because it causes so much harm.

By coveting what our neighbor desires, we invite conflict and rivalry. This plays out in social, political, and economic conflicts, leading to violence and scap...

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It’s embarrassing to admit, but most of what we do is based on imitating others.

Babies and animals mimic others naturally. However, as we get older, we resist seeing ourselves as imitators. We prefer more complex e...

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  • Current Examples: Today, people are cancelled or targeted on social media to serve as scapegoats for larger issues.
  • Example: After 9/11, political parties focused o...

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examples

examples

  • Rivalries in sports (Bird vs. Magic, Ali vs. Frazier) mimic opponents must be enemies, though they share the same goal and lifestyle.
  • The same principle applies in other areas of life, where opposing forces are not allowed to...

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We can escape the endless cycles of reciprocal violence—but only by rising above our impulse to vengeance and working instead to delegitimize the drive to punish and scapegoat.

  • Girard argues that understanding viole...

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RENÉ GIRARD

“Nine-tenths of politics, is choosing the same scapegoat as everyone else.”

RENÉ GIRARD

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The scapegoat combines opposites—and is often both victim and hero, profane and sacred, guilty and innocent, dying and resurrecting.

Girard's theory suggests that sacrificial victims, who are treated with admiration and then executed, offer insight ...

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continued..

continued..

Our Differences Are a Source of Violence, But Sameness is Even More Dangerous

  • Girard believes that violence stems from the erosion of differences, rather than the differences themselves.
  • In fac...

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The persecution of scapegoats is a central force behind organizations and belief systems—but this can never be mentioned.

  • Witch hunters for example, cannot admit that the witches are innocent victims, because t...

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Our most violent impulses are stirred up by similarity, not difference.

Our Desires Are Fueled by Imitation and Can Lead to Conflict:

  • When we mimic others, we often find ourselves...

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Imitation leads to blood feuds and reciprocal violence—escalating like Mafia wars—which are traditionally resolved by the sacrifice of a scapegoat.

In the past, a live animal was sacrificed as a form of ritual.

Now, people are bl...

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René Girard: Exposing Lies & Trends

René Girard: Exposing Lies & Trends

René Girard (1923-2015), a critic and social theorist — dedicated his life to exposing the hidden truths behind fashions and trends.

Despite his background in literature, Girard's theories have shed light on many so...

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CURATED FROM

CURATED BY

yuyutsu

Absurdist. Failed musician. Successful pessimist. Gamer.

How a thinker who hated trends & fashions became trendy & fashionable!

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Fashion designers and jean makers also love indigo dye because unlike cheaply produced chemical dyes, this natural plant dye gets better with age. Instead of fading out to a tired, worn-out look, indigo’s organic qualities mean that it ages like leather.

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