Everyone Deserves An Advocate
The new Anti-Mimetic Community is live today. The Book Club is launching next month. 5 days left to take advantage of a special offer.
Reminder: Through October 31st, you can still take advantage of 30% off an annual subscription, which unlocks all paid posts and includes access to all community features: a book club, virtual courses, monthly virtual Salons, group chat and livestream, and more. Also: today, the new platform for the Anti-Mimetic Community (now hosted on Mighty Networks instead of Discord) goes live. More info and how to access it now can be found below.
I have great respect for the legal profession. The best of it, anyway.
One of my dear friends is a trial attorney who, for as long as I’ve known him, has had a very sacred view of his work. Shortly after we met, during my time living in Vegas, he articulated his passion for his job to me by explaining his role as advocate—and he did it primarily using a biblical lens.
This, it turned out, would later become one of my primary entry points to the work of René Girard. Perhaps it was the reason Girard just made so much sense to me the first time I read his book I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. The categories of Accuser and Advocate, which run throughout Girard’s work, had already become familiar to me in the framework of spiritual warfare—including the way that my friend described his small role in what he saw as a larger, cosmic battle playing out for the soul of humanity.
If it is true that there is a “principle of rivalry at the heart of human relations” (as Girard wrote), then we possess a powerful instinct to accuse and destroy one another. One could even argue that, in a fallen and sinful world, this is the default mode of relating to one another that we continually fall back into without realizing that we’re doing it. It has happened for far longer and with greater regularity than, say, the economic cycle.
Yet we also have the power to overcome this rivalrous way of being in relationship—we do have the power to relate to one another differently: to seek to understand, to build up and edify, to love. I suppose that is why, at the deepest level and layer, I chose to name this newsletter Anti-Mimetic.
In today’s world, authentic friendship and real sacrificial love are deeply anti-mimetic acts.
In the bible, the term Satan comes from a Hebrew word that means “Accuser”. In the book of Job, for example, the Accusers (men who are supposed to be Job’s friends) are relentless, attacking him day and night—insinuating that the suffering he endures is the direct consequence of some evil he has committed. They offer him no hope.
This is in stark contrast to what is referred to elsewhere as the “Paraclete”—literally, the Advocate—who defends, advocates on behalf of, and consoles. In the bible, these are often angels, prophets, and the just ones who defend people before God. In Christianity, the Paraclete usually refers to the Holy Spirit.
I think it’s a useful exercise even for people who don’t consider themselves religious or spiritual to simply examine the following questions: Who in my life is playing the role of the Accuser? Who is an Advocate? And in what ways am I myself either an Accuser or an Advocate in relating to someone else? And lastly: What things or processes in my life tend to turn me into an accuser or an advocate? Knowing the answers to these questions can become the first step to change.
These are hard questions. They are not easy (and perhaps even impossible) to answer without help. After all, René Girard famously said: “The universe is swarming with scapegoats, yet none of us think we have any of our own.” That is because to make or have a scapegoat is necessarily to not know that you have one.
It is the knowledge hidden from ourselves since the foundation of the world—the self-knowledge that is too painful for us to explore or admit.
One need not be an attorney to be an advocate. I think we can all be advocates for one another. In a world filled with Accusers and Accusations, we need more Advocates. That’s what I’m trying to do here.
So I first thank you for your support—for being an advocate. My real goal now is to begin forming a community of advocates: people who are thinking seriously about fundamental questions of humanity and people who want to be advocates to one another both personally and professionally. People who stand shoulder to shoulder, who seek to see the best in others, and who want to passionately pursue the truth with other like-minded and like-hearted people.
I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting so many of you—to the point that I now know what’s possible here. I will continue investing in growing a community of relationships beyond what we have so far been able to achieve on monthly Zoom calls, so I am announcing the next step in that process.
Invitation to Join the Anti-Mimetic Community
As promised last month, I have now invested in a much more robust community platform (Discord was not cutting it) for premium subscribers. After a great deal of research, we landed on a professional version of Mighty Networks, which seems like it has the potential to be a central hub for everything that is upcoming in this next year:
The Book Club—launching next month. A group of us will be reading Girard’s magnum opus, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
Members have the option to enter their Location as part of their profile and the platform will let people know who is near them. This will help as we begin to organize more in-person meet-ups in the future.
Community events with be accessible with Zoom links directly from inside the platform, including next month’s Salon with Dr. Hollis Robbins, Dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Utah. This cuts way down on logistical complexities.
Courses and workshops, including a special new workshop that I will be teaching with a team of facilitators next summer from June 15 - Aug. 3 (learn more in the network under “Courses”, in the left navigation column.) The Layer Zero Project will be about stripping away everything that is obscuring the most deeply human from our work and our lives, and developing an anthropology of business that is capable of equipping us for the coming decade. Premium subscribers can register for that course at a 40% discount to what the general public will pay.
All community members will be able to post articles, start chats, live stream, upload videos, start new groups (including book clubs), host events, and take user journeys to explore various topics that I’ll be offering roadmaps for.
Below is a sneak preview.
We’ve spent the past week or so building things out. Right now, I’m the only one in there…so I hope you’ll join me!
I realize it will take a few months to build the community out and get used to a new system, but I think this will support far more robust engagement moving forward.
Access to this new community platform is for paying subscribers. And there has never been a better time.
Simply sign-up, and you will find a link to join Anti-Mimetic on Mighty Networks at the bottom of this post (after the paywall), and/or in your welcome email.
I hope to see you there.