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Dancing with Mimetic Theory

There are two related misconceptions about what mimetic theory says about being human: that (1) we are inherently violent and (2) unavoidably slavish imitators, incapable of individual or original expression. Mimetic theory, a theory of violence and imitation, says nothing of the sort, in fact it leads to the opposite conclusions. The problems arise because of misconceptions about violence and imitation tha ...

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Iraq and North Korea: The Lies We All Believe

Today, March 19, 2013, is the tenth anniversary of the Shock and Awe campaign that was intended to rid the world of the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As it turned out, the threat was a lie. There was ample evidence at the time to prove that the WMDs didn’t really exist, but were manufactured in Saddam’s imagination for political gain. So why did we fall so easily for his li ...

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Romney and Obama Agree: Peace and a Culture of Violence

What I believe is we have to … change the culture of violence that we have. – Mitt Romney We’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime. – Barack Obama The definitive renunciation of violence, without any second thoughts, will become for us the condition … for the survival of humanity itself and for each one of us. – René Girard, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, 137. Mitt Romney an ...

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Political Debates: Addicted to Zingers

I’ve discovered a bit of wisdom during the last nine-and-a-half-years-of-my-blessed-married-life: Do not argue with the wife. Because I’m usually wrong. I mean, Obama and Romney have nothing on Carrie; my wife is a good debater. But last week, I did argue. And, actually, it wasn’t much of a debate. I was so thoroughly logical, so thoroughly correct in my reasoning that she didn’t stand a chance. It was over ...

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Military Terror Plot: Are You Shocked?

The Huffington Post thinks we should be shocked. But I’m not. The story’s headline on the front page of Huffington Post Crime section reads “SHOCK: Serving Soldiers Planned To Bring Down U.S. Government.” That’s the headline, but the title of the article reveals a bit more: “Military Terror Plot: Murder Case Uncovers Terror Plot By ‘Militia’ Within U.S. Military.” The Huffington Post reports that an anarchi ...

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Imitation, Violence and the Body in The Dark Knight Rises

“What is the meaning of it Watson?” said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. “What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever."[1] 1. Holmes’ Two Bodies With the Aurora shooting ...

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Tebowing, Cruzing, and Bradying – The Admiration of a Football Fan

That’s mimetic. The “Tebowing” and now “Cruzing” and “Bradying” phenomena are evidence of humanity’s mimetic nature.  As René Girard has put forth in developing the “mimetic theory,” humans are the best imitators on the planet.  We are so good at imitating, most of the time we don’t even know we are doing it.  This non-conscious imitation is how we learn from others.  Girard calls the “others” we imitate ou ...

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That Billboard Had No Effect On Me!

Most of us buy into a mistaken understanding of human desire which makes it hard to explain some everyday phenomenon. Like why do we all want the latest high tech gizmo or this season’s fashion must-have item. It’s not because these things have some intrinsic value or because the desire for them just happened to arise spontaneously within millions of people at the same time. I know iphones are cool, but do ...

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Mimetic Theory 101: Angels and Desire in The Bishop’s Wife

Raven Foundation Founder Suzanne Ross explains the mimetic nature of desire in the 1947 film, The Bishop's Wife, starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. Grant plays an angel named Dudley who knows what divine love is all about. Dudley works his magic in a way that will fill you the spirit of the holiday season. After watching the film, enjoy the lively discussion that followed on December 6, 201 ...

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