161: René Girard on What Makes Us Tick—Gil Bailie (Free Version)
Despite teaching at prestigious universities, René Girard (1923—2015) was an outsider to the world of academe. The French philosopher and social critic began teaching literature because he needed a job. This venture set up his discovery of just how similar the various novels and classics were that he was lecturing on. He realized over time that, primarily, people want what other people want, a dynamic he called mimetic desire.
This mimetic desire is tied to social behavior such as Twitter mobs, gossip, office politicking and—here we get to the kernel of his lifework—the scapegoat mechanism, which happens when “me against you” is transferred to “all of us against him.”
Which came about in its highest form in the murder of Jesus Christ.
Buckle up as Gil Bailie, founder of The Cornerstone Forum and longtime friend and student of Girard unfolds the basic lines of thought of the great man, called by Bishop Robert Barron “a 20th-century father of the Church.”
In this episode you will learn
- Why people tend toward the same objects of desire, and why jealousy and rivalry are inevitable sources of social tension
- Why violence and the sacred are not polar opposites
- The basic story of Girard’s theories and their origin
- Why imitation is the fundamental mechanism of human behavior
- How this scapegoat mechanism is found in the Old Testament and culminated in the New
- Why Christianity is the solution to mimetic rivalry
- How the filmography of Mel Gibson shows Girard’s proposed dynamic in action
Resources mentioned in this episode
- Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World by René Girard
- Violence and the Sacred by René Girard
- The Girard Reader by René Girard
- I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by René Girard
- Social experiment proving mimetic desire: Link
- God’s Gamble: The Gravitational Power of Crucified Love by Gil Bailie
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