René Girard Quotes

“Individualism is a formidable lie.”

“More than ever, I am convinced that history has meaning – and that its meaning is terrifying.”

“Victimism uses the ideology of concern for victims to gain political or economic or spiritual power.”

“The profound self is a universal self.”

“Passive, submissive imitation does exist, but hatred of conformity and extreme individualism are no less imitative. Today they constitute a negative conformism that is more formidable than the positive version. More and more, it seems to me, modern individualism assumes the form of a desperate denial of the fact that, through mimetic desire, each of us seeks to impose his will upon his fellow man, whom he professes to love but more often despises.”

“To escape responsibility for violence we imagine it is enough to pledge never to be the first to do violence. But no one ever sees himself as casting the first stone. Even the most violent persons believe that they are always reacting to a violence committed in the first instance by someone else.”

“I believe that in intense conflict, far from becoming sharper, differences melt away.”

“The peoples of the world do not invent their gods. They deify their victims.”

“Violence is the divine force that everyone tries to use for his own purposes and that ends by using everyone for its own—the Dionysus of The Bacchae”

“We must renounce the gambit of “good” and “bad” – even in its inverted form. We must acknowledge that misapprehensions abound, that violence is to be found everywhere, and that our partial understanding of violence by no means assures us victory over it.”

“The profound self is a universal self.”