Jonathan Bi on how to live with a Girardian worldview

I compared Girard to my Virgil in the sense that he was able to rescue me through Hell. He was able to show me how to purge more milder forms of perversion.

But, just as Virgil couldn’t take Dante all the way to heaven, neither could Girard. Girard kind of just retreats.

What I’m about to share with you is mostly my own creative interpretations on top of Girard.

I think there’s in general two solutions, once you’ve identified there’s a metaphysical and there’s a physical desire. One wing, and I think this is what Girard leans to, is to say this metaphysical–this is the Buddhist as well as the Girardian way–is to say this metaphysical desire, this desire for being, it’s completely perverse. It’s _always_perverse, whether from Girard’s perspective, because it’s essentially a desire to be God. This is why it’s satanic. You’re desiring persistence; you’re desiring power; you’re desiring reality. If you push those far enough, those are the metaphysical qualities of the Judeo-Christian God. So, Girard actually sees metaphysical desire as the original sin, as the satanic drive to rival God in his metaphysical splendor.

And the Buddhists–right–we don’t have to go into that, but long story short, these metaphysical qualities are not possible in the world. Emptiness is what permeates the world. So, this is a fundamentally wrong sort of desire.

So, for the Christians and Buddhists, the way to good health is to completely get rid of metaphysical desire, to be only concerned by the object physical desire.

There’s another, however, strand of thinking, and probably most popular amongst the Germans, in Hegel, is to say there is actually a healthy way–the Germans, and Plato actually, which we’ll talk about–there actually is a healthy way to exist in society. And the way, long story short, to do so is for your metaphysical and your physical desires to align.

That is to say: if you really like to do philosophy, don’t hang out with a bunch of people who are industrialists. Hang out with a bunch of philosophers, so that the somewhat partial spectator, as we’ve discussed, will naturally _align_with your normative values, with your physical desires, and thus you’ll receive recognition and a form of reality.

quote rené girard jonathan bi