In our modern societies, we have built economic systems that rely on the principle that all objects have some value, and that this value comes from an inherent sense of desirability held by the object. While the continued functioning of modern capitalist economies would suggest this principle is correct, it gives little insight into what bestows this desirability onto the objects we buy and sell. In order to better understand the reasons for which we find objects desirable I will discuss René Girard’s theory of mimetic desire and how it can be applied to desires for things both physical and non-physical. After establishing the validity of the theory as an explanation for desire, I will furthermore discuss some possible consequences of accepting mimetic desire as a driving force behind behavior. I will first address the potential for individuals to become more aware of the reasons behind their desire for objects, being mimesis, and therefore more able to tailor their pursuits to better achieve their goals while ignoring unnecessary desires. Then, I will offer a potential consequence for society at large in the form of the ability to manipulate the behavior of the masses through the highlighting of specific models and the natural proliferation of those models’ traits. To conclude, I emphasize the importance of understanding the reasons behind our desires, as the limits of our understanding of behaviors so too limit our ability to change them.
"The Reason for Desire,"
Inter-Text: An Undergraduate Journal for Social Sciences and Humanities: Vol. 2
, Article 5.
Available at: https://publications.lakeforest.edu/inter-text/vol2/iss1/5