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Introducing Mimetic Theory: African Dialogue on Mimetic Theory

An introductory presentation on Rene Girard's Mimetic Theory (MT), the three phases of mimetic desire, the scapegoat mechanism and the Judeo-Christian revelation of that same mechanism

Leon Marincowitz

on 6 April 2013

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Transcript of Introducing Mimetic Theory: African Dialogue on Mimetic Theory

Introducing Mimetic Theory:

African Dialogue on Mimetic Theory Constitutive dimensions of what makes us human is our imitation of others
We desire not objects but the being of the other, which we lack
Personhood comes from outside Contents Rene Girard 3 periods of Philosophy First: Plato onwards (500bc-1750's) Second: Immanual Kant
(1750's onwards) Third: Rene Girard (1969 onwards) Surrender the illusion that desire comes from within
Give up "Romantic Myth of Autonomy" Briefly explore the 3 Phases of Mimetic Theory (MT) Mimetic Desire
Scapegoat Mechanism
Judeo-Christian revelation of the Scapegoat Rene Girard & Mimetic Theory Left to us? Going forward Launching the African Dialogue on Mimetic Theory an invitation Leaving Mimetic theory to us? Problem with Traditional Philosophy Cannot escape Binaries Problem with Traditional Philosophy Cannot escape Binaries Mimetic Desire Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind.
We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires – Rene Girard. Metaphysical Desire: is desire
for the being of the other Desire is the imitation for an object that a model (another) desires Scapegoat Mechanism Mimetic Rivalry People don't fight over their differences. They fight because they are the same, and they want the same things – Rene Girard As Mimetic Rivalry increases, a crises of differentiation occurs Social hierarchy collapses As desire has gone wild (mimetic crises)
people start to focus on differences [in order to differentiate themselves] Solution:
Identify the cause of this discontent Exorcise/Sacrifice that difference Judaic-Christian Insight How to escape an inescapable mechanism? Scapegoat mechanism found in all religion and archaic myth Ancient myth, archaic sacred and religion record narrative from persecutors perspective Contra Judaic-Christian perspective records narrative from position of the victim Examples of the Victim in Judaic Texts From Abel - the first victim of
murder in recorded history To long extracts of Joseph - proven innocence in Egypt Total Revelation of the victim mechanism culminates
with in the
Gospel accounts of the Passion Modes of understanding From the Greeks onwards - have access to the world

From Kant onwards - don't have access to the world-in-itself i.e. objects Cannot access the object in and of itself/limitation of reason

This binary relationship of "subject – object" upon which the world's knowledge is founded i.e. medicine, education etc
Alternative Subjectivity : Intersubjectivity Violence Violence is the lack of distance between two parties
Violence has been quenched by the sacrifice of a victim
We are now aware of our utterly human tendency to create victims and justify that violence (Sacrifice)
We can now take responsibility for our violence (reconciliation) The first innocent victim that is truly understood as such To Conclude: An Invitation to join the
African Dialogue on Mimetic Theory Objectives:
to provide a platform for scholarly engagement on Mimetic Theory,
the application of mimetic theory insights to the South African context,
to be inter-disciplinary. Contact: Leon Marincowitz
083 982 63 15
Leon.Marincowitz@monash.edu Passionate for a different discourse L.G.Marincowitz Object is forgotten Focus on Other (Rival) Attempt to differentiate using arbitary markers i.e colour/creed/language/religion Also the foundation of culture and the nature of being human Achan's sin of stealing jewels from Jericho Uzzah's touching of the
falling Ark of the Covenant Examples where the text gets it right Examples where the texts get it wrong [Emphasis of models inherent in interaction]
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