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René Girard, one of the great minds of our time, passed away on November 4th.
The Stanford University News obituary summarized his epic discovery:
Girard was interested in the causes of conflict and violence and the role of imitation in human behavior. Our desires, he wrote, are not our own; we want what others want. These duplicated desires lead to rivalry and violence. He argued that human conflict was not caused by our differences, but rather by our sameness. Individuals and societies offload blame and culpability onto an outsider, a scapegoat, whose elimination reconciles antagonists and restores unity.”
Joining me to discuss Girard’s monumental contribution to understanding ourselves and our era is Tom Breidenbach, whose amazing twin book(s) of poems The Wicked Child / IX-XI explores the symbolism of human sacrifice in the context of 9/11.
Tom Breidenbach’s poems and art writings have appeared in many journals and anthologies. His collaborations with Nathan Kernan appear in Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of American Collaborative Poetry, and his book of poems, The Double Whammy, was published by Didymus Press, with woodcuts by Donald Baechler. He teaches at Pace University and lives in Brooklyn.