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Beyond Deceit: René Girard and Luigi Giussani on the Meaning of Desire

A conversation between Maria Elena Monzani, Tyler Graham, and Thomas Deutsch, moderated by Professor Brandon Vaidyanathan

René Girard’s mimetic theory is, in my view, an open system—one that is capable of, and in fact much better understood, in dialogue with other systems and sets of ideas.

This is in contrast to closed systems. Closed systems often become their own totalitarian way of seeing and understanding human behavior. (I would say that psychoanalytic theory is one of them.)

As part of the conference that I organized in November, I intentionally tried to bring Girard’s ideas in contact with other thinkers and systems of ideas—including some that he is in clear tension with. This is how ideas are strengthened and grow.

One of those thinkers is the Italian Catholic priest Luigi Giussani, a person whose ideas I am shocked that Girard’s work has not been in more dialogue with until now. Desire was the root of Giussani’s entire project. And, at first glance, he seemed to understand it in a different way than Girard. Or did he?

This is the question that our brave interlocutors explore in this video. More on each of them below.

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Pursuing the mysterium tremendum et fascinans and writing at the intersection of philosophy, culture, art, technology, and religious wisdom.
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