I continue with the thought of René Girard – actually, my thinking as influenced profoundly by him.
We are now urged, almost desperately, to keep smiling as a recent email to me said. We tell each other constantly that everything is all right. When just the opposite it true. Underneath this enforced cheer is the fear that – if we give in to doubt all is lost.
When, in fact, all is lost anyway. As I will explain.
Girard builds in the theory of Memetics – a theory which seems obvious enough to me – but was never accepted – for reasons he makes clear – human society was based on murder.
From time to time, whenever a crisis arose, the people who were thought to have caused that crisis (witches, for example) were murdered (sacrificed). And this process was absolutely essential for society to continue working.
You will no doubt object that, while this may have been true in the past – this is no longer the case now (fortunately).
But you would be wrong. The urge to scapegoat is still very much with us. As 9/11 showed.
America now feels itself threaten by many enemies – external (Mexicans, for example) and internal (which is the reason for all the spying). All of which must be destroyed – one way or the other (perhaps with Drones).
But something even more important has happened, and even more profound. Which Girard does not touch on. Human society has turned against itself. People have become its enemy. The reasons for this are obscure, but it can be easily observed.
No wonder people are scared – and have responded by not being.
This is the situation we now live in. Not a very good situation.