Origin of Mimetic Desire

The discovery of the phenomenon of “mimetic desire” was made by René Girard around 1959. The French professor, now teaching in America, had been asked to teach classes on European literature. He approached the texts like a good archeologist, looking to uncover some overlooked truth about human nature. In that respect, René Girard is similar […]

Desire Definition

Girard discovered that we come to desire many things not through biological drives or pure reason, nor as a decree of our illusory and Sovereign Self, but through imitation. That idea was unpalatable to me the first time I heard it. Are we all just imitation machines? No. Mimetic desire is only one piece of […]

Marxism and Mimetic Desire

Karl Marx in his work Das Kapital describes the fetishization of commodities that he thinks are typical in capitalist societies. At first glance, observes Marx, there is nothing extraordinary about commodities. But if we penetrate deeper, we find strange distortions. The form of wood, for instance, is altered if a table is made out of […]

Casting the First Stone – by René Girard

This piece is about the phenomenon of casting the first stone and its cultural relevance. The following essay compares two texts that revolve around the same unpleasant but highly significant subject, collective stoning. The first one, located in the Gospel of John, is the famous episode of an adulterous woman whose stoning is prevented by […]