Give the Gift of Anti-Mimetic
Help someone else prepare for the apocalypse (and a word of Thanksgiving)
What a year it’s been.
We live in apocalyptic times—and by that I simply mean what the word literally means: an ‘unveiling’ of hidden truths about the world.
Apocalypse is the underlying theme of René Girard’s entire oeuvre (he named his magnum opus Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World…), and it’s probably mine too.
Not that I could ever get away with naming one of my books so pretentiously (if I were a French academic, maybe), nor do I presume that I’m unveiling anything myself. But I do hope to point to what has already been said and done which is truly ‘revelation’ as a way to interpret and find meaning and purpose in history and in our everyday lives.
The underlying theme of my work is really love—because I believe the ultimate truth to be unveiled, the ground of reality, is love. Even when it seems, on the surface, like what is being unveiled only consists of lies, death, destruction, incompetence, incoherence, or fear. Yes, there is that. But if we’re willing to attend to reality in a different way, we’ll see a different truth revealing itself—and it’s tremendously good.
This is why, in the very first edition of this newsletter in October 2020, I promised that it would be guided by what is far and away my favorite virtue, the lifeblood of life in 2021: Hope.
I never thought that when I set out to write Wanting and launch this newsletter that:
We’d be in the middle of a global pandemic that turned people into mimetic rivals and ushered in a full-fledged crisis of undifferentiation (leading to all manner of strange differentiations) and scapegoat-making, but that I’d be connected with thousands of people (including you) who have a shown a sincere interest in understanding what’s happening and finding a better way forward.
I also never imagined that the book I wrote about mimetic desire would very unironically be released at the peak of the crypto and NFT craze (when I started writing in early 2019 there was serious doubt about whether a book with the word ‘mimetic’ in could ever catch on…).
Or that I’d get married, unexpectedly lose my mom, and find myself living in my childhood home in Grand Rapids, MI for the past 6 weeks reconnecting with extended family and drafting the outline for a new book—one even more ambitious than the last, but which seems more necessary than ever.
Thank you so much for being here. I receive dozens of emails from Substack subscribers each week. I am consistently edified by your thoughts and comments, and particularly by your support these past few weeks.
I plan to return your thoughtfulness and generosity 10 fold over the next year. There will be some big changes coming to Anti-Mimetic, which I’ll outline below. It’s a work-in-progress, but it will give you an idea of the direction I’m headed in.
Your feedback is always most welcome. I’d encourage you to please use the ‘comments’ section of any post rather than a direct email to me whenever possible—that way, when I respond, everyone can participate in the discussion if they’d like.
Lastly: Would you please consider gifting a subscription to a friend who might like to be a part of this community? If they aren’t digging it, they (or you) can cancel at anytime.
Important note: For anyone who upgrades to or gifts a “Founding Member” subscription before Monday morning, I’ll throw in a signed copy of Wanting and personally mail it to you or your friend. All I’d need is an address, which you can email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for your continued support. Okay—here’s what’s coming:
You will be getting more, not less. Here is what I have in store for all those with a free subscription:
A weekly essay on a specific topic that should start hitting on Thurs/Fri instead of on the weekends
Mimetic Monday—a short three-bullet roundup of weekly mimesis, every Monday. You have to specifically opt-in to this to receive it through Substack, though. Go to your account settings and check the box if you’d like to receive it. You should be able to read these in 3 minutes or less.
Short, spontaneous emails from me from time to time on everything from new fiction to financial markets to weekly in-person meet-ups that I’m going to start organizing. ('I’ll generally avoid politics, unless it is requested by populist (popular?) demand.)
A monthly Open Thread where everyone is free to comment on a proposed topic, or put forward topics of your choosing
I’m working on a course, or a group journey, for those readers who are interested in diving deeper. These will be available to all at a small cost, with premium subscribers receiving a sizable discount. I plan to make the announcement of the first learning journey in the first half of 2022.
Everything that Free Subscribers receive
Immediate access to the community Discord channel (I am going to be engaging there much more frequently including, this week, of dropping my original book proposal for Wanting there—when I tweeted about doing this, I was shocked at how many people had interest in seeing what a successful book proposal looks like.)
A Book Club. There’s a channel in the Discord for book suggestions. We’ll pick early in the new year. Now’s the time to put forward your choices.
A monthly Thread for premium subscribers only
A roundup of interesting or note-worthy things that I’m reading, watching, or paying attention to
I’ll provide infrequent updates on the process of writing my new book. While I can’t announce the name (because it’s TBD) or even the major theme of it quite yet, I hope to be able to do that soon. It’s still in the very earliest of stages—the book proposal is not even finished yet—but I’m excited to begin work on something new and to share it with all of you.
Text notes/alerts: from now on, only Premium subscribers will have access to the text message alerts and Q&A on offer through texting. When you sign-up, you’ll receive the number. To be clear: it’s not my personal cell number; I use an app called Community that aggregates the messages from people who text the number. I can pull up the texts from my phone (within the app) and respond in real-time, though. I’m doing this because emails are becoming an unworkable system for me right now and I need to implement layers out of the simple recognition that I’m no longer able to respond to everything. I will prioritize these messages.
Zoom calls every 1-2 months. We’ve had a few of these so far and I’ve enjoyed them immensely—and I think the other participants have too.
Thanks again for being here. I wish you a healthy and happy holiday season, and I look forward to continuing our work here into the new year.