Dec 30, 2023·edited Dec 30, 2023Liked by Kahlil Corazo

Hello Kahlil Corazo, I have seen several sites that have posted on Girard, also your links here. Does that give it more relevance? I think your article was featured in some Substack feed; congratulations. I also think there was a Girard conference as of late.

You said toward the end, "Girard’s ideas made me change my life." What did you get out of it?

We can see "scapegoating" everywhere we look, and on all levels of society, and throughout time. That practice is the basis of racism, which is the needed explanation to cast the "other" down. Are these incidents all the product of blood-feuds; which are then resolved? America has been in some contentious periods, (I could probably say why). Then they scapegoated Iraq. Did that calm the waters on the home front? Where does this theory take hold and produce results?

Can you classify this theory as social science? It does try to explain human behavior.

Social science should help people observe the world, or navigate the world through analysis. All of social science is about cultivating a sense of agency. Having a sense of agency does not mean thinking “I’m special.” Instead, it is about being a person IN the world, and what's your relationship with that world. It's what you see when you look at the world. Even if what you see is not necessarily right, (never totally), you still need to be clear about your way of thinking.

What does “understanding” mean after all? Anthropology merged with psychology and philosophy, still seeking to explain how to understand other people and other cultures, while at the same time it reflects on Western culture. Better to focus on people’s positions and the process of distribution. That will go a long way to explain scapegoating.


You are forwarding the idea that RITUAL SACRIFICE is a cultural universal like marriage or gender. We still have marriage and gender, but is there any ritual sacrifice in your life. Are you searching for a scapegoat so that you can get along better with your neighbor? (Maybe the neighbor's dog, right, he barks too much.) Another one you slide in is, "the uniquely human propensity for vengeance must have destroyed many early societies". An Axiom?

There is vengeance, and it is sold as a necessary part of justice in our scriptures. You wrote, "A pattern, points to an INSTINCT, that leads a society in crisis to pick a scapegoat and direct their accumulated hostility towards that chosen individual or subgroup. Where does the INSTINCT part come in? Is there a definition about that, or a process revealed of how it formed? Or Another Axiom

What is a "blood-feud", and where does it come from. Or an axiom?

To look at an ancient ethos, and notice there was a lot of killing, isn't any breakthrough. (I could probably explain it in another way.) And then to claim that this killing solved problems and kept the society together, is a giant leap. All the other ones that did killing and collapsed aren't in the formula. I think you said that somewhere, This cognitive blind-spot is called survivor-ship bias. (It is the airplane with red dots on your other article.)


Falsifiability is a good one, if you can't disprove it, it must be taken as true, for now. (Or if you refuse to prove it false). It reminds me of the vaccine fracas.

Deutsch says that good explanations have "reach." Reach is not depth. Just because something was widely practiced, doesn't tell you where it came from, why it persists, and what change could put-it-away.

Then Rao's office model, I think that is on another article? I'll stay with this article for now.

Then "Trance Dance", isn't that a stretch to ascribe drugged out behaviors to the human condition as a whole? How do you fit that one in? Why do you even bring it up?

Gerard finds many scapegoats all throughout Europe, for 1,000's of years. These are all well-known. So the mechanism might be a sort of VESTIGIAL ORGAN that gets reactivated in situations of societal chaos? That one is a whopper. Then we hear of Deutsch's alternative: that theories come from human creativity, which are THEN tested through the crucible of real-world data. Better ask if CREATIVITY isn't actually to the PERSONAL ADVANTAGE of my sponsors, (he who pays my salary for spinning these thoughts). That is clearly the way of the present-day-narratives.

I think if you define all the language used here, throughout, a bit deeper and in non-western terms, you would surely arrive at a different conclusion. However, I'm not writing the article.

Stimulating for thought though for sure, and thanks.


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Dec 22, 2023Liked by Kahlil Corazo

I haven’t read Girard yet, but when I do I will be starting with several questions: Why do we need mimetic desire to explain the war of all against all? Isn’t that the state of nature? Isn’t a mob a supreme act of cooperation? How is that caused by war of all against all?

Why does he put so much emphasis on the scapegoat? Even granting it is a recurring phenomenon, isn’t the tendency of the mob to kill the king even more important?

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If Deutsch is correct, and Girard's theories are true, the emphasis must have come from the patterns he saw in myths and ethnographies from the last archaic societies previously untouched by the west in the 20th century (or the great novels in the case of mimetic theory).

More than his books and his academic articles, what helped me see Girard's overall model were his lectures https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/violence-the-sacred/id1515658686 Girard's ideas need to be seen in their totality before painting the details.

One of Girard's favorite examples of the scapegoat mechanism is a lynching of a king: Oedipus (he interprets the myth as a murder concealed and justified in its telling across generations).

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