Mimetic Violence in Real Life

Man Upset Over Speeding Cars Threw Screwdriver

New Hampshire man frustrated with others’ reckless conduct … conducts himself recklessly.

As Jean-Michel Oughourlian observes in The Genesis of Desire, each person involved in a rivalry, “in order to distinguish himself from the other, tries to denigrate his adversary, to triumph over him, to assert the anteriority of his own desire and his exclusive ownership of it.” As rivalry mounts, exasperation with the other leads to a mimetic crisis.

In this case, the allegedly speeding drivers were unlikely to be aware that they were rivals with the alleged screwdriver-thrower, but he seems to have keenly felt the drivers to be rivals, as his response — i.e., to act like them — shows.

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