Mimetic Theory (René Girard) – Video Series

The following video series provides a preliminary understanding of human culture from the perspective of mimetic theory, which was first developed by René Girard (1923-2015).

I made the first parts to give an overview of some basic cultural facts. The later parts of the video series deal with mimetic theory’s explanation of those facts.

PART I – THE SPELL OF THE SACRED

Part I – The Spell of the Sacred makes clear how human communities organize themselves in reference to a sacred realm. It uses the example of female circumcision in the culture of the Ethiopian Dassanech tribe to highlight the interplay between taboos, rituals and myths. This reveals how the sacred is experienced as an ambiguous and violent reality, which is eventually balanced by sacrifice.

Dassanech Dimi

Music for the first part of the video series comes from Le Sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), more specifically Introduction and Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes from the second part, Le Sacrifice. It seems only appropriate.

WATCH The Spell of the Sacred HERE:

PART II – THE DANCE OF THE SACRED (3 VIDEOS)

Part II of the video series on mimetic theory (in 3 videos) further explores how cultural (sacred) taboos, rituals and myths are connected with violence and the (often violent) attempts to control it. Each chapter starts off with a concrete example from around the world.

After every example there are two appendices, one that connects the observed cultural facts with the animal world, and another that explores how traces of age-old cultural customs are present in secular cultures.

Scenes mainly come from BBC & National Geographic documentaries.

WATCH The Dance of the Sacred (3 Videos) HERE:

For more information on the music for Part I & II, click here (pdf).

Here is an overview of Part II (which had to be cut in three videos due to WordPress upload regulations):

Chapter I – Food in the Dance of the Sacred

The Tinku Ritual (Aymara People, Bolivia)

Appendix I – The Connection with the Animal World:

Scenes from Dynasties, Chimpanzee (David Attenborough)

Appendix II – Secular Cultures:

Restaurant Alchemist 2.0 (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Chapter II – Sexuality in the Dance of the Sacred

The Sagine Ritual with Donga Sticks (Suri People, Ethiopia)

Appendix I – The Connection with the Animal World:

Scenes from Dynasties, Chimpanzee (David Attenborough)

Appendix II – Secular Cultures:

Scenes from Temptation Island 2019, Kady & Johnny’s Journey

Chapter III – Diseases in the Dance of the Sacred

The Sacrificial Ritual of the Khakhua-Kumu (Kombai People, Indonesia – Papua Western New Guinea)

Appendix I – The Connection with the Animal World:

Scenes from Planet Earth (David Attenborough)

Appendix II – Secular Cultures:

Baking Gingerbread Cookies

Chapter IV – Adolescence and Leadership in the Dance of the Sacred

Important Rites of Passage (Arnold van Gennep)

Initiation Ritual ULWALUKO (Xhosa People, South Africa)

Initiation Ritual CROCODILE SCARIFICATION (Chambri/Sepik People, Papua New Guinea)

Appendix I – The Connection with the Animal World:

Scenes from Dynasties, Chimpanzee (David Attenborough)

Appendix II – Secular Cultures:

Fraternity and Sorority Hazing

Tattoos & Branding

Chapter V – Mimetic (= Imitative) Phenomena – like Twins and Mirrors – in the Dance of the Sacred

Ritual Sacrifice of Twins (Bassa-Komo People, Nigeria)

Appendix I – The Connection with the Animal World:

Scenes from Chimpanzees, Other Animals and Human Babies Confronted with Their Mirror Image

Appendix II – Secular Cultures:

Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and the Uncanny Valley (Masahiro Mori)

Twins IV

Videos coming up in the nearby future:

Mimetic Theory – Part III – The Mythical Reflection of the Ambiguous Sacred

Mimetic Theory – Part IV – The Origin and Evolution of Cultural Facts Explained

Mimetic Theory – Part V – The Gospel Revelation of the Mythical Lie – The Scapegoat Mechanism

2 comments

  1. heseesevileverywhere · 8 Days Ago

    Hello Erik,
    I hope this message finds you well in these strange epidemic times.

    Scapegoating is surging everywhere with the help of covid-19!
    I will follow your videos. I hope you’ve kept one for our modern mythology : neoliberal economics. If you didn’t, please consider reading “Debunking economics” by steve Keen and his plea for economic reformation: I think it is definitely relevant. http://www.newweather.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/33-Theses-for-an-Economics-Reformation.pdf

    Keep going I always enjoy reading your insights.

    Best regards

    Like

    • erik buys · 8 Days Ago

      Hello!

      I will definitely try to make the leap to this day and age. Thank you for suggesting Steve Keen’s work, I will definitely read what you sent me.

      I hope you are safe and in good health.

      All the best,

      Erik

      Like

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