Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

Rene Girard

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Book Synopsis

"Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World" by René Girard explores the intricacies of human desire, violence, and the formation of culture. Girard argues that human beings are mimetic creatures, driven by imitating the desires and actions of others. This mimetic desire leads to competition and conflict, ultimately resulting in violence and scapegoating.

Girard examines various cultural phenomena, such as myths, rituals, and religious practices, to uncover the underlying mechanisms of social organization. He suggests that the scapegoat mechanism is prevalent in human societies as a means to alleviate tensions and maintain order. Through the sacrifice and expulsion of a scapegoat, the community finds temporary relief from the violence that grips it.

However, Girard also reveals the destructive nature of this mechanism, showing how it perpetuates cycles of violence and oppression. He discusses the role of religion in perpetuating the scapegoat phenomenon and argues that the Christian revelation provides a way to break free from its grip.

Girard delves into biblical texts, particularly the story of Jesus' crucifixion, to present a powerful critique of violence and a vision for a non-violent society. He argues that the crucifixion of Christ exposes the violent foundations of human culture and offers a transformative alternative based on forgiveness and self-sacrificial love.

"Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World" offers a profound and thought-provoking analysis of the human condition, unveiling the hidden forces that shape our societies. Girard's work challenges conventional wisdom and invites readers to question the violent dynamics that underlie our cultural institutions. This book serves as an indispensable resource for anyone interested in understanding the roots of violence and exploring the possibility of a more harmonious world.

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