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Le monde selon Girard (The world according to Girard)

Author

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  • Rémy VOLPI

    () (labrii, ULCO)

Abstract

L’imitation explique comment et pourquoi, d’un point de vue historique, l’hominisation a eu lieu. Girard soutient que le désir mimétique en soi est propre à mettre à mal toute communauté pré-humaine en ce qu’elle conduit à la rivalité mimétique qui se propage à l’ensemble et aboutit au chaos de la lutte de tous contre tous, rivaux indifférenciés. La théorie mimétique de Girard pose que toute société humaine est issue du meurtre collectif originel d’une victime arbitraire innocente, processus de réconciliation soudaine et inespérée. Ce sacrifice apportant la paix et l’ordre, la différenciation des membres de la communauté est entretenu par des interdits, des rites, des mythes. Les interdits empêchent tout ce qui peut recréer le chaos mimétique. Les mythes sacralisent la victime et escamotent le meurtre collectif humain en attribuant le miracle de la réconciliation à des puissances extra-humaines, les divinités. Les rites sont des cérémonies répétitives qui reproduisent le sacrifice initial à travers des victimes de substitution. A partir de la nécessité vitale de recourir au symbole, c’est-à-dire de la substitution d’une chose par une autre, commence la culture humaine, et notamment le langage. Un cerveau plus grand est un moyen de sélection naturelle si, crise après crise, l’usage de symboles se complexifie. La culture occidentale a apporté une révolution radicale car le message judéo-chrétien s’est graduellement rangé du côté du « bouc émissaire », en signifiant son innocence. Ce faisant, il a dédivinisé le monde, ouvrant la voie à l’émulation à tout-va avec pour effet un progrès formidable par l’innovation depuis trois siècles. Mais du même coup, la violence mimétique prend de l’ampleur et semble immaîtrisable, l’éthique, seul moyen désormais de la contenir, n’étant apparemment pas à la hauteur. L’apocalypse est-elle proche ? Imitation explains how and why, historically, humanization took place. Girard holds that mimetic desire per se is likely to jeopardize any pre-human community as it would lead to mimetic rivalry, a contagious process that quickly snowballs to end up into the chaos of a struggle of all against all, as undifferentiated rivals. Girard’s mimetic theory has it that any human society is stemming from an original collective murder of an innocent arbitrary victim, as a sudden and unexpected reconciliation process. As this sacrifice brings peace and order, the differentiation of the community members is maintained through taboos, rites and myths. Taboos forbid anything that could lead again to mimetic chaos. Myths make the victim sacred and conceal the fundamental collective murder in attributing the miracle of reconciliation to some extra-human powers, divinities. Rites repeatedly reenact the original sacrifice through a substitute victim. From this vital necessity to symbolize, that is to replace one thing by another, starts human culture, and among its main traits, language. A bigger brain is a way of natural selection if, crisis after crisis, the use of symbols is sophisticating. Western culture has brought a radical revolution as the judaic-christian message has taken sides, gradually meaning that the “scapegoat” is innocent. By so doing, it has “dedivinized” the world, paving the way to open emulation resulting into a fantastic progress through innovation since the last three centuries. But by the same token, mimetic violence is gathering momentum and seems unstoppable, ethics, by now the only way to prevent it, being apparently no match. Is apocalypse near?

Suggested Citation

  • Rémy VOLPI, 2009. "Le monde selon Girard (The world according to Girard)," Working Papers 212, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
  • Handle: RePEc:rii:riidoc:212
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gerard; mimetic theory;

    JEL classification:

    • Y50 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Further Reading - - - Further Reading
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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