Have you ever gazed into a pond on a clear day? The sky, clouds, trees, mountains, even your wonderful self are reflected in it but it’s all upside down. Everything is the same only mirrored back in reverse. Mimetic theory is like that. It’s a way of seeing the world from a different angle so that what was up is down, clouds magically drift below water, and mountaintops are dizzyingly downhill from where you stand.
Mimetic theory is a way of thinking that turns conventional wisdom about some pretty essential facts of life on its head. There are 3 super important mimetic insights that completely contradict popular belief:
- Our desires are not original or unique to us but are acquired through imitation.
- We come into conflict because we are alike, not because we are different.
- God has nothing to do with violence.
If you feel as if you are gazing into an upside-down world right now, that’s normal! Once you start learning to see the world through the mimetic theory lens, you realize that it opens up the very path to peace and wholeness that you have been searching for.
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So what is mimetic theory, in a nutshell please, no jargon? We are so glad you asked! Here is the nutshell in 100 words or less:
Mimetic theory is the biggest breakthrough in the social sciences of the last sixty years. Beginning with humanity’s highly developed ability to imitate anything and everything around us, it offers one unifying principle that explains things long thought to be opposite phenomena, like love and hate, friendship and rivalry, creativity and conflict, peace and war. It even sheds much needed light on the origins of religion and culture, exploding the myth that God is violent and vindictive, not anything like the gentle, peaceful lambs that we are (cue some “dripping with irony” music). “Mimetic” is the Greek word for imitation and René Girard –
Oops! Gotta stop there. That’s a hundred and two words, but I really wanted to get René Girard’s name in. Time to crack the nutshell wide open and examine the pieces that fall out.