Thursday, February 11, 2010

Escalation to the Extremes

As René Girard recently writes in Battling to the End, when one member of a model/rival warring relationship is settling into a defensive posture (the dominant 'model'), that partner sets the terms of the battle and "escalation to extremes." The lesser partner (the 'rival') is forced to move against its foe-partner in terms dictated by the former's defenses.

The dominant partner may enact a faux ignorance of its rival's actions and even a feigned ignorance of the rivalry altogether. Its rival is, thus, forced to enact any and all measures not only to be noticed, but, in the words of Robert Hamerton-Kelly,
It wishes not only to imitate the other, nor merely to possess itself in the other, but to destroy the other as the place where the self is alienated to itself.
In this quest, the rival will change the terms of discourse (don't forget; the Scimitar was founded on this model/rival template). But the model will act remarkably stupid and seemingly blind to the obvious. Even when the "escalation to extremes" reaches the level of sacrificial denouement.

WILL the escalation continue? Girard is convinced of it, and fears for the world of humanity. And apparently, the dominant model partner is beginning to think so, too.

But under current leadership from the Last Self-Help Administration, it is unlikely that any actions other than functional dhimmitude, academical indifference, and puer-senex tendencies will be seen for the foreseeable future.

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