Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Scimitar - Primitive Sacred

An aspect of René Girard's concept of the primitive sacred involves the acquisition of certifiable sacrificial victims. The sacred needs victims to re-stoke the flames of what Robert Hamerton-Kelly calls the "Generative Mimetic Scapegoating Mechanism" at its heart.

Therefore, the primitive sacred needs trip-wires so as to alert its religionists that "they've got one!" like this.

The gods of the primitive sacred - regardless of all talk of "monotheism" - reflect a similar and recurring need: the need for victims. Girard's three primary characteristics of the sacred carry essential tasks to keep the victimary cult at the center of such conventional culture strong and able to maintain social and psychological cohesion. These three characteristics are ritual, myth, and prohibition.

Ritual re-enacts the founding slaying of the deity-troublemaker who "rescued" the people when they were engaged in the "war of all against all" (Hobbs). By his death, they became a people. To keep the chaos and tumult from returning, a priesthood establish a ritual that replays this victimary origin of culture.

Myth is the subterfuge that lends the once violent mob a self-justifying, self-congratulatory story that keeps them from seeing the actual, structural innocence of their original victim - as well as their on-going ritualized victims' innocence. We "had to" sacrifice him (her, them); it was our "sacred duty."

Prohibitions provide the "trip-wires" that show us who has "trammeled" upon the deity's will and, thus, provide us with a necessary cache of victims, should a dissolution of our cultural cohesion call for a sacrifice to surcharge it.

The point is, the Scimitar has all the ingredients of the primitive sacred in a viral and quite active way in the world today. And regardless of its claims of "monotheism", its structure is at-one with all pagan "primitive sacred" religions.

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