Monday, March 09, 2009

Girard - It is religion - It is sacrifice that domesticated man

So, your argument concerning Gans' approach is the necessity of pre-linguistic solutions against violence.

Yes, because there are also biological aspects which have to be taken into account. Such as, for instance, the features of humans in relation to primates, characterized by 'neoteny'. Neoteny is the persistence (retention) of juvenile characteristics in animals. In the case of Homo sapiens, we can observe, among other things, the loss of bodily hair, smaller bones above the eyebrows, inability to walk in infants, etc. All these things are physical-cultural and researchers are still wondering about how all this came about. My idea is that the scapegoat system makes it possible at a pre-linguistic level. At some stage of the evolutionary path - which turns primates into humans - a sort of prohibition of a religious nature or some sort of fear of an immense invisible power at the most basic level triggered prohibitions against violence. These forms of prohibition protected the female, and made possible long-range care for infants. The formula 'self-domestication' has been used quite often in reference to the human being: e.g. 'man is a "self-domesticated" animal'. NO, he isn't: it is religion, it is sacrifice that domesticated him. Religion is a structure without a subject, because the subject is the mimetic principle. I think one can have a purely realistic and materialistic interpretation of it. What I am suggesting is an integration of culture and biology through the scapegoat mechanism. pp 124-123

(In other words I believe Girard would say, man is a creature birthed and nursed along by religion. p121)

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