What is the mimetic approach?

The “mimetic approach” to problems or to current events or issues means approaching them as fundamental problems of desire and trying to under the mimetic impulses and consequences of mimetic desire behind these problems.

A salient example: a scientific or political approach to mask-wearing during the COVID-19 global pandemic would be to try to find scientific rational or political positions that advocated for or against wearing masks as a form of safety. The mimetic approach to this issue removes these questions from the issue of disease transmission. Instead, it views the debate as one that is fundamentally about mimetic desire and mimetic rivalry, not questions of science or politics.

The hip-hop artist Gucci Mane elucidated the phenomenon of mimetic rivalry in his autobiography. He tells the story of making a song about robbing in his “Black Tee” (black tee-shirt) solely because a rival rap group had envy-worthy success with a song about wearing their “White Tees.” Here are some of the lyics:

I rob in my black tee
Hit licks in my black tee
All in ya house searchin’ for bricks in my black tee (Crank it)
I kill in my black tee
I steal in my black tee
I’m real so I gotta keep it trill in my black tee (O-kay-kay-kay)

Now, apply the same lyrics to mask-wearing or non-mask-wearing. There you have it.
Gucci even talks about wearing a black mask. This is 2008.