Saturday, June 19, 2010

Interview with Rene' Girard....

I digress...again.  This morning I followed a link on someone's facebook page to a you tube video of John Dominic Crossan discussing the differences between literalism and fundamentalism.  From there I clicked on some of the you tube videos in the side bar...always an eclectic mix there....and eventually ended up at a site called Fora TV.  I watched an interview with Rene' Girard....a recent interview that mentions text from his most recent book, Battling to the End.

He is difficult to listen to because of his strong French accent. I think that may be the reason his books are difficult to read.  They begin if French and are translated to English so they sometimes seem a bit stilted or awkwardly phrased.  I have gotten a lot more clarity from the writings of those who write about the anthropological discovery of Girard....mimesis and mimetic rivalry that leads to scapegoating. 

And Girard seems to be a "glass half empty" kind of guy too. He seems to have a pessimistic view of how it will all eventually work out.  In the interview he says:

Mankind has the truth and the reality of Christianity....and the truth has been there for 2000 years, but instead of moving ahead and becoming more widespread it is becoming more restricted.  Christianity is less and less popular every day.  It is accused of all sorts of things that smell very much like a scapegoating process.

He does not focus on positive mimesis which seems to me might work just as well as the negative.  Since we are mimetic creatures....born with this propensity to unconsciously copy the desires of  enables us to participate in positive mimesis. 

I have read several articles that focus on the positive....and plan to write about it.  It is in the queue.

There was nothing really nothing startlingly new in this interview.  He pointed out that people not only imitate each other in their desires, but that they imitate each other in their dislikes and their feelings.  So when one member of a community caught in the throes of escalating violence caused by mimetic rivalry identifies one they feel is guilty of causing the crisis, it can spread quickly among the community.  It finally reaches a point where the community unanimously selects and converges on the scapegoat who  must be killed, banished or gotten rid of in some way. 

He also pointed out that even though in the ancient world the objects of desire were different, the structure of desire, the triangular relationship of desire object, model, subject are the same today. As is so rightly penned in Ecclesiastes which also seems to take a pessimistic view of thing...

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Back to the spiritual side of Islam and the Quran...soon.....

1 comment:

annie said...

i think Jesus agreed that there is 'positive mimesis'. he said that the kingdom of God is like a woman who hid leaven in dough... and the leaven gradually spread out until the whole was leavened. aisi, he was describing "each one reach one" with the gospel of Love. it's contagious. and it is more powerful than anyone imagines... namaste :)