Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Only mimetic desire can be genuine desire because it must choose a model more than the object itself

The real question is: what is desire? The modern world is arch-individualistic. It wants desire to be strictly individual, unique. In other words, the attachment to the object of desire is, in a way, predetermined. If desire is only mine, I will always desire the same things. If desire is so fixed, it means that there isn't much difference between desire and instincts. In order to have mobility of desire - in relation to both appetites and instincts from one side and the social milieu from the other - the relevant difference is imitation, that is, the presence of the model or models, since everybody has one or more. Only mimetic desire can be free, can be genuine desire, human desire, because it must choose a model more than the object itself. Mimetic desire is what makes us human, what makes possible for us the breakout from routinely animalistic appetites, and constructs our own, albeit inevitably unstable, identities. It is this very mobility of desire, its mimetic nature, and this very instability of our identities, that makes us capable of adaptation, that gives the possibility to learn and to evolve. p 58

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