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I’ve followed some of your posts on TAE (my user name = David Peter) over the past year where I find your perspectives are rewarding to read.
Along my path striving to picture and follow Christ, I am studying theologian James Alison as well as anthropologist René Girard.
If you have some time (which is so precious) to give James’ website
a brief look over to see whether you like it, I believe you will find rewarding views along your way to picturing and following Christ. I would be interested to hear what you think.
At the moment I am reading Michael Hardin’s book “The Jesus Driven Life” (not to be confused with Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life”).
From the rear cover of the book: “Will the real Jesus please stand up? … What has happened as Jesus, the rabbi from Galilee, has been displaced as the centre of the Christian faith and replaced with false portraits? How can we understand the relation between this nonviolent Jesus and the ‘violent God’ of most Christian traditions? … Utilizing the work of René Girard, ‘The Jesus Driven Life’ takes us beyond the dead ends and false trails of Christian interterpretation of the Bible.”
Brilliant article Aston, you wrote:
“Humanity’s greatest ecological pressure is itself.”
“The Christian worldview, its behavioural/cultural genetics or memes, describes a system of mutual aid and care giving, i.e. “love thy neighbour”.”
If mimesis is key to understanding human behaviour, as proposed by René Girard,
then the object of our desire, and further, the subject or our desire, is the prime driver of our evolution.
So who do we model our lives on?
One possibility, for example, is the imitation of Christ.
What kind of “civilization” could result from following Christ lead?
I do believe that we are capable of desiring Jesus Christ, and that such desire is in our best interests, and that by so desiring, a renaissance awaits us, where we can leave behind, as you wrote, “an age of dinosaurs [where] massive beasts in the shape of nation states and corporations roam our planet, consuming resources, metabolizing them and excreting waste”.
What we need above all is love and hope.
David Peter – When doing something for the first time, always expect the unexpected!
“The Dark Knight Rises”
Are we “free to choose” to give our attention to advertising, TV shows, movies, etc ?
For the most part, in our “consumer society”, is it true that when we desire the objects ( including GUNS ) being presented to us, we WANT them, but we do not NEED them ?
Perhaps we miss the point that coincidentally, the “superheroes” being portrayed together with the “objects of desire” want them too.
René Girard is recognised worldwide for his ideas about human behavior and human culture, and he perhaps would reach the conclusion that primarily we are desiring THE VERY BEING of those SUPER BEINGS.
This ontological sickness, this metaphysical desire, is “a fascination with the being of others as if they possessed the secret of freedom” [ from the article “The Ontological Obsessions of Radical Thought 1” by Stephen Gardner published in Volume 10 of Contagion by Michigan State University in Spring 2003 ].
When we freely choose to adulate Batman, for example ( adults included ), perhaps we secretly desire to be like him, to possess the secret of his supposed freedom, of his supposed autonomy, of his supposed power.
Evidently many of our self-created idols are violent.
Do our hearts yearn to possess the secrets of violence?
Do Hollywood and the advertising industry give us what we desire ( deserve ) ?
Is violence is being served out to us at our own seeking it out ?
When we hand over our ( scarce ? ) hard-earned produce and get produce in return, what kinds of “American Dream” are we getting, whether that be as material goods ( e.g. guns ) or spiritual goods (e.g. violence ) ?
But this is not just imitation. Girard insists on the Greek MIMESIS, differentiated by a DESIRE which is attracted by the very being of an OTHER , and all the objects which the OTHER desires.
How do human beings learn and how do we change?
If we better understand these 2 questions, we may understand the incomprehension around us. One theory ( to which I subscribe ), a theory first proposed by Rene Girard, is that our way of life is modelled for us, and that we imitate the models we are drawn to. Our values and modus operandi are not self-determined.
I am a student of mimetic realism (René Girard) and the science of mirror neurons. Thanks for submitting this article about intuition. imho, human beings are the keenest of imitators. Many of the issues raised above point to the fact that, for the most part, I am unaware of the models I am imitating. I labour under the illusion that I am mostly free to choose the models I imitate. But as you point out, even having the space and time to see who I am copying is a big ask.