Thursday, October 13, 2016

Andrew Batson — Why didn’t I read René Girard in Anthropology 101?

I See Satan Fall Like Lightning may not have been the best place to start for a Girard newbie, but it does contain some of the most concise, most powerful and beautifully written statements of the key insight of social science: that human beings are not autonomous monads but fundamentally social beings, whose thoughts and actions are shaped by the people around them. (Peter Thiel, who has been vocalabout Girard’s greatness, seems to have put these insights to more practical use than me or most of my classmates in anthropology did.)
Girard takes an unusual route to get to this insight, using scraps from the Bible and the Greek myths more in the manner of a literary critic, but he expresses it as well or better as any of the greats of twentieth-century social science.…

1 comment:

circuit said...

I asked myself the same question recently. I discovered Girard a few years ago, which is incredible given my anthro background and French schooling. Anyway, good stuff, indeed.