The Scapegoat - Part 1

Ideas

Human beings, according to French thinker René Girard, are fundamentally imitative creatures. We copy each other's desires and are in perpetual conflict with one another over the objects of our desire. In early human communities, this conflict created a permanent threat of violence and forced our ancestors to find a way to unify themselves. They chose a victim, a scapegoat, an evil one against whom the community could unite. Biblical religion, according to Girard, has attempted to overcome this historic plight. Girard's ideas have influenced social scientists over his long career as a writer and teacher. IDEAS producer David Cayley introduces this seminal thinker to a wider audience.

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