Mimetic Theory

ByLuke Burgis
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Mimetic theory is a very important philosophical project of the French Catholic philosophy Rene Girard. In the book Unrepeatable, the idea of mimetic desire is related to vocation:

“The French philosopher Rene Girard calls this a consequence of ‘mimetic desire,’ or the imitation of what others desire. It starts at a young age. At a birthday party, five-year-old Kelly grabs a balloon and shouts, ‘This balloon is mine!’ Suddenly, that balloon becomes the most coveted balloon in the room. Connor, playing with his big red truck, doesn’t it entertaining anymore because Kelly, with the perfect bow in her pigtails, loves her balloon so much.

When they grow older, the mimetic rivalry may not be over balloons, but it will endure. The mimetic mechanism is present in schools, restaurants, relationships, and every other domain of human life. According to Girard, it’s also present deep within the human heart.

There’s no escape from this condition. There’s no option of non-conformity. The question is: To whom or to what will we conform our desires?”

Here is Rene Girard himself explaining his theory. For more information on mimetic desire and the theory in general, we recommend learning more about mimetic theory here.

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