Handy Dandy Girard Synopsis

I find this a useful encapsulation of some of Rene Girard’s primary ideas, as well as an interesting analysis and extrapolation of those ideas in the field of psychology.

He expresses well, I think, how desire works:

“The relationship of imitation (often mutual) between the desiring person and the mediator of their desire is deeply important. Objects of desire are largely interchangeable, but the bond between the individual and the mediator of his or her desire is far stronger than this. This relationship of imitation can be manifested in a deep attraction between the top mimetic partners, an attraction that can transform into antagonism with incredible ease. Both the attraction and the antagonism find a common source in the imitative relationship that exists between the two partners. In such a mimetic relationship the one who desires wants to be like the model of his or her desire in all things, to occupy their position.” …

“For instance, two friends desire the same woman and become each other’s rival. For Girard, the most important relationship in this classic love triangle is the relationship between the two friends. In such a relationship the woman may well be interchangeable with almost any other woman. What makes her significant is not what she is in herself, but what she is as surrounded by the aura of the other’s desire. She is desirable because she is desired by the other.”  …

“Mimetic desire can explain why we often chose as models of desire people who are indifferent to us or despise us (unsmiling models create the aura of desirability that goes with top brand products). Their indifference is seen to be indicative of a self-sufficiency that we lack. We desire to be self-sufficient like them and so we desire the objects that they desire.”

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