Beyond Conflict – Homo sapiens fabula – the wise storytelling ape/hominid
War is a constant theme in human history.
And there is one main reason for all conflict.
And many variations therein.
René Girard was a French man. He came up with mimetic theory. Essentially it is this:
“The mimetic theory of desire is an explanation of human behavior and culture which originated with the French historian and polymath René Girard. … Mimetic theory posits that mimetic desire leads to natural rivalry and eventually to scapegoating, which Girard called the scapegoat mechanism.”
Now, if you look at every culture’s history on earth you see that. And every perceived conflict too – this set of themes repeats. Over and again. In one form or another.
You can explain it best with the analogy of 4 children and 10 toys. One child takes a liking to a particular toy. Another wants it too. He mimics that desire.
The conflict starts with 2 but can easily spread and it leads to scapegoats and violence.
It is rooted in a part of the mind of man that one might say is very primal – the reptilian brain. Eat or be eaten. It is fundamentally a gross mistruth. It is based on a thought in the mind of man that is thoroughly wrong and errant. The thought is essentially: the belief in scarcity.
Nature is torrentially abundant, and yet the mind must be manned to see that truth. And it is a most fundamental truth.
The reptilian brain does not honor those higher faculties of man. Creative Imagination and wisdom.
When you delve into what Lincoln said you start to apprehend what that means.
He was asked:
What is the key issue in the future of America?
But before I mention what he responded, it helps to look at Ruskin and Gandhi and Nehru and the journey of my mentor Tara Singh.
John Ruskin was an Englishman born to one of the first very successful industrialists. He had a townhouse in London and another home (Brantwood) on Coniston Lake in the English Lake District.
Ruskin had plenty of money. But he also was very sensitive to the consequences of the industrial revolution on the mind of man.
How would the arts and the sciences and humanity flourish under a mechanized society? His heart and mind truly embraced this question and that movement inspired Gandhi, and, in turn, Prime Minister Nehru.
It was a movement of humanism and considering the reach of the men behind it – it had a significant impact. That same wisdom inspired Marin Luther King. That kind of force can be attacked but it can never be mortally wounded. It is eternal for it is a movement of virtue and such a movement is a candle that can never be put out. Not by the strongest winds.
It is thoroughly tenacious, like a storm petrel in a storm, like a vine that always finds the light and the rain to gift oxygen to the world. It’s destiny is to fully flourish. It is the very essence of the nature of nature; abundant, wise, good, loving, tender, growthful inwardly ongoing.
Lincoln replied that the future of America depended on what one man made of a small piece of land.
Lincoln and Ruskin lived in similar periods of time. Darwin published his famous book just before the Lincoln years.
And its last paragraph, like the Greeks of old,implicately, it challenges us to embrace evolution.
Lincoln spoke of the action of rightness and the Greeks spoke of logos – the common sense in relationship with the whole (essentially the ethics of how you do that – and logos included the science, the know how – the tech).
America had one very great Secretary of Agriculture. His name was Henry A. Wallace. He came not too long after Lincoln. In my opinion, he was the greatest to ever hold that office. He was very innovative. Such men are rare. They need not be.
The Ancient Greeks knew there was a garden in the mind. Lincoln and Wallace have always inspired me because, by Lincoln’s profound statements and Wallace’s pragmatism – you can see the potential for genius in things that are not commonly dissected enough.
And when you crack the riddle of mimetic theory you can then broach what lies beyond the mimetic desire-violence-scapegoat model. That, after all, is the focus of the study of ecology and science and the creative arts bound in harmonious purpose- the child of which is a thriving peaceful economy and a fulfilled society.
And to foster that, at its zenith you must forget Karl Marx and globalism and all the fear around global warming and focus on one thing: the energetic of the ecosystem beyond the troubled ego of man.
Then you start to see the planet as a garden and you tender it with a full heart and you see the goodness in man and the power in the sun and you begin to recognize the capacity of the stories we tell ourselves and you see that the name:
Homo sapiens sapiens
The twice wise ape – well, it overlooks the power of those stories. It assumes wisdom. When Parsifal, the Arthurian knight was offered a wife for a quarrel he ended, by her father, he turned the offer down.
He said: “No, I must earn her.”
What he meant was that formality, that fixed limited conformist view, it is not the root to the deepest mysteries of the heart and mind.
He represents the part of the mind that sees through to the deeper authenticity in one self and in every man in general. He is the crowning glory of the Holy Grail legends. There is Bors and Galahad too – Bors is a meditation on leadership and Galahad on perfection. But it is Parsifal that represents the fool in all of us that can mature and bloom into the flower of a deeper happier composed wisdom and joy.
The psychologist Robert A Johnson pointed out that that mythos isn’t so much about men and women but it is about the masculine drive in harmony with its opppsite nature within.
To earn the appellation of wisdom one must tell the right stories. One must attend to the nature of inquiry into nature – science. One must aspire to be fully authentic, fearless, tender, resolute, rich in conviction and insight.
The font of an iron will and the seed of all genius and full levity and peace and abundance lies in the inner man. It is not an accident. It must be tendered appropriately though. Like any great garden, it blooms, when we treat it right.
Then, one can earn ones place in the greater harmony of things. By the total dedication to such implied meaning.
© Copyright 2021 Nathan Curry