Mimetic Monday: March 8, 2021


Hi everyone, it’s Monday.

  • 🔁 Positive Flywheels. I stayed on a working farm in rural Virginia over the weekend with four Clydesdale horses, four cows, two bulls, chickens, and a pig. As I got to know the family that runs it, it got me thinking about the importance of entering into positive flywheels of desire. We all have things that we either do or do not do that directly affect our desire to do something else. For instance, if I smoke a cigar late in the evening (something I do enjoy from time to time…), I am less likely to want to run the next morning. That’s the start of a negative flywheel. The family on the farm seemed to have a positive flywheel of desire in place: one responsibility (like their desire to care for the horses) directly feeds another desire (to host AirBNB guests and beautiful weddings to help them afford their horses…) and another desire (to take care of themselves physically so they can maintain the farm), and another, and another. Their human ecology is a healthy reflection of the environmental ecology. It’s worth asking: What’s your anchor desire? And what are the other desires that feed it? I’m asking myself this week.
  • 🤯 Creating Boundaries. Most of us have at least a couple of people in our life who function as unhealthy mimetic models. We need to know what they’re up to. We care what they think. We care what they want. The latest edition of the Anti-Mimetic newsletter contains 5 tips for creating healthy boundaries with these models so that we can spend more time focused on our unique and unrepeatable mission—the one that is given to us and to no-one else. The only way out of the comparison game is gaining an understanding of your purpose and then measuring your success against whether or not you are getting closer to fulfilling that purpose. It helps to make goals highly personal—not general and mimetic goals that everyone else is also setting (losing weight, gaining followers, making more money). Goal-setting has to be anti-mimetic or it quickly turns into a mimetic game with moving goalposts. What can you do that nobody else can do? I promise there are many things.
  • 🧐 Quote. “If someone is making excessive demands on you, he’s already involved in mimetic rivalry, he expects you to participate in the escalation. So, to put a stop to it, the only means is to do the opposite of what escalation calls for: meet the excessive demand twice over. If you’ve been told to walk a mile, walk two; if you’ve been hit on the left cheek, offer up the right.” —René Girard, in When These Things Begin


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