Matthew Packer interviews entrepreneur and author Luke Burgis on Luke's latest book, "Wanting: the Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life". Luke wrote the book to understand what mimetic desire means in the context of vocation, in the context of faith, and to connect it to everyday life in a way that would actually help people live better lives.
Mimetic desire—the idea people want what others want—holds the key to understanding the 21st century, suggests entrepreneur Peter Thiel. It’s an idea first developed by philosopher René Girard that is helping a growing audience today understand everything from personal relationships and rivalries to politics, war and human identity. In this episode of A COV&R CONVO, Matthew Packer interviews author Luke Burgis about Luke's new book Wanting: the Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life, which applies mimetic theory to everyday contexts including those of vocation, faith, and the business world. Burgis discusses a wide range of phenomena explained by mimesis (imitation), especially the dark side of human copying. He also explores the crucial difference between imitating role models outside our social circles and copying those on the same field as us—with funny, surprising examples like the tale of Ferrari and Lamborghini. Mimetic theory accounts for the unbridled competition of today’s world but also the escalation of politics to extremes (Girard), along with the false ‘solution' of collective mimetic violence that we know too well as scapegoating. In the second half of the podcast Burgis points to the way out of this violent social condition, tracing a counter-narrative through the Judeo-Christian scriptures, and suggests ways of coming to terms with our mimetic predisposition. We all copy someone, he explains, just as we all influence others. Where do your desires come from? Who are your models? Burgis embraces these and other great questions to eventually show that desire’s highest expression, ultimately, may be wanting the other’s good—acting in love