Girard, Mirror Neurons and the Interdividual

i recently began reading in a series from the Michigan State University Press. The series is:

Studies in Violence, Mimesis and Culture.

The particular book I think might be worth reading is:
The Genesis of Desire by Jean-Michel Oughourlian


So, what’s this all about then?

Recently, I picked up Aristotle’s Poetics and decided to give it a careful read through, thinking about how it fit in with what I learned from Dramatica theory, and along with a lot of other insights, I kept coming back to the ideas of mimesis, representation, imitation, that Aristotle touches on repeatedly throughout the book (a book he didn’t write, but is a collection of lecture notes from more than one student who sat in on his lectures).

When I was done with that study, I googled Mimesis, wondering what was out there beside Auerbach, and found many things, among them this series. The series title sold me :slight_smile:

Chapter 1 is a reading of the Genesis myth with considerations about identity based on the source of our desires being, not ourselves, but the imitations of others’s desires–interesting enough already for a writer. The general thought is–if our concept of individual identity is at least in part based in the thought that we originate our own desires, they come from our deepest trues inner selves, what happens to that ‘self’ and ‘individual’ when it turns out all those desires are copies (of copies, of copies, of copies).

Chapters 2 and 3 go into the history of the the development of this idea, of identity actually taking place in the space between subjects, rather than in the subjects themselves, and in particular, and I think of most interest to this forum, the idea of the ‘interdividual’ – an idea that immediately made me think – aha, the “You” perspective. (And also the We and They perspectives, now that I come to think about it, which makes the I perspective that fourth member of the quad, that doesn’t quite fit. Huh.)

Maybe it won’t have the same effect on others, but I felt like a veil was lifted for me, how a You perspective could be “point of view.” Also, just in the interest of making sure your not writing based on outmoded and antique ideas of the self, you might want to read it.

That’s it. Sorry I’m not spending much time on the forum, doing a lot of reading and writing. For some reason it all took off in the last few months – I’ve left NYC during the worst of the virus and am holing up in a basement apartment in Georgetown, biking up the Macarthur and across the Francis Scott Key bridge when the weather’s nice.

Hope everyone is staying safe. I’ll check back in to see if anyone has followed up. I’d love to hear what other people think about this material, see if they think it’s as relevant as I do. I approach this sort of thing not as ‘finding a new guru’ or having found the skeleton key to all of psychology, or whatever, but as a nice set of tools for getting a new think on things, and possibly for new art.



Added thought on the I perspective - is it too much to say that the I perspective is the ‘off’ member of the quad because it’s describing an interiority, rather than a relationship out in the world - if it were a true member of the quad it would be describing an interdividual, and that then begs the question, where is the intersection taking place, and who are it’s members?* Maybe the bigger question with every I perspective - the need/desire driving the MC - is that first you have to cut yourself off from others, you have to tell yourself the lie of your uniqueness. Of, if you prefer, the useful fiction of your ‘individuality’, a conception that is window dressing on a relationship between the interiority of the mind and the narrative conception of the ‘self’. The place we look out from, then the self that we come back to, to tell it stories about the world.

just some thoughts, thinking this through.

  • also, the movement of the narrative is usually the re-establishment of the isolated lonley ‘I’ perspective as an interdividual once again, recovered from the desire or need that was cutting them off in the first place–reestablishing the equilibrium of the quad.

Maybe, cognitive dissonance? Maybe, we rewrite our ‘self’ on the go, and it’s not ever a finished product ‘individual’. Bummer, that. That’s one thing I like about Dramatica, a fluid writing form until we nail down what we want.

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