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Mimetic desire generates conditions of violence

Mimetic desire generates conditions of violence Mimetic desire generates conditions of violence
Source: Two Hands, 1885 - Vincent van Gogh
Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
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Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
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It was Plato who determined once and for all the cultural meaning of imitation, but this meaning is truncated, torn from the essential dimension of acquisitive behavior, which is also the dimension of conflict. If the behavior of certain higher animals, particularly the apes, seems to foreshadow human behavior, it does so almost exclusively, perhaps, because the role of acquisitive mimesis is so important in their behavior, although it is not as central as it is for the human being. If one ape observes another reach for an object, it is immediately tempted to imitate the gesture. It also happens that the animal visibly resists the temptation, and if the imitative gesture amuses us by reminding us of human beings, the failure to complete it, that is to say the repression of what already can be nearly defined as a desire, amuses us even more. It makes the animal a sort of brother to us by showing it subject to the same fundamental rule as humanity—that of preventing conflict, which the convergence of two or several avid hands toward one and the same object cannot help but provoke.

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