Someone found their way to this pathetic corner of the World Wide Web through the search term “nothing clever.” True story. They got exactly what they bargained for.
This post simply exists to serve the transitory function of declaring to you, the reader/s who come here in search of nothing clever or whatever else you’re after, that I will be slowing down the pace of my Presocratic mumblings for a time. They will continue to come sporadically. But my reading as of late is much more scattered. I’ll be adding a few new dance numbers. Not theology, and nothing clever.
Some things I’m reading and others are queued up. In no particular order there’s Aquinas, who started it all off. There’s Marshall McLuhan who is always waiting in the wings and presides over the whole affair in any case. There’s Simone Weil, of whom I’ve read nothing, and I’ve made a solemn promise to myself to change that. There is Plato, Aristotle and Theophrastus. Kirkegaard. Hamann. Blaise Pascal. Franz Kafka. Emmanuel Levinas. And there is, lastly, René Girard.
Now Girard, as many may know, gives us Three Views of a Secret. His tripartite revelation begins with the unveiling of the ontological mimetic nature of desire and proceeds secondly to pharmakology (not Girard’s term, it’s been patented by another), that is, the scapegoat mechanism in human society. Lastly, Girard turns to the analysis of the New Testament kerygma as that of the Divine Pharmakos which unmasks, exposes, and destroys the cycle of pharmakological violence.* Permit me to be idiosyncratic in this small way when, in future, writing about Girard and “mimetic theory.” I don’t consider what he’s doing to be “theology” in any traditional sense, “literary criticism” is what it is much of the time, but it becomes so much more than that. And I question whether, following Kirwan,** it amounts to “theory” at all. So for me “mimetic theory” just doesn’t catch it. Girard is, for me, pharmakology (spelled with a k, a hat-tip to the Greek and the originate sense of pharmakos and in no way related to what Germans call Pharmakologie, though I dig that too).
I hold that truth is not an empty word, or a mere ‘effect’ as people say nowadays. I hold that everything capable of diverting us from madness and death, from now on, is inextricably linked with this truth. But I do not know how to speak about these matters. I can only approach texts and institutions, and relating them to one another seems to me to throw light in every direction. — Girard, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (1987), p. 447.
* Thus it is a wise old theological sage, much wiser than any of his co-religionists at the time (though even still he has grown to consider himself as nothing clever) one quipped: “All Theology is Pharmakology“. This of course renders the whole superstructure of “theology” as moot. Pharmakology is where it’s really at.
** Kirwan, Michael, Discovering Girard (2004), p. 9.