Monday, March 29, 2021


Here’s this week’s edition of Mimetic Monday.

  • 👂👂 Overheard
    Dax Shepard interviewed singer/actor Robin Thicke on an episode of his Armchair Expert podcast recently. “We find ourselves through mimicking others that we admire,” Thicke says, referring to his dad’s admiration for John Wayne—his metaphysical desire to be more like John Wayne. You can listen to a 45-second audio clip of this part of the interview here. Dax replies to Thicke by saying that imitation happens through our personal filter and becomes something new—in other words, our imitation leads to innovation. “Although of course you end up becoming yourself,” in the end. The question is who we choose to imitate, and how—not if.


  • 🥷 Anti-Mimetic Tactic
    Granting a “decision-right” means delegating ownership over a decision to someone else. We often think of this in a business context, but decision-rights are even more important in non-business contexts—for instance, delegating a designated driver while out for a big night of drinking. But there is a hidden sphere of life in which people almost never give decision-rights to other people: for what they read, who they talk to, or who they associate with. When this is done in freedom, it can be an incredibly freeing act—it can liberate the mind and heart from our self-imposed prisons. For instance, I’ve been lucky to have attended some dinner parties where a wise host seats certain people next to others to encourage thoughtful conversation with people we would normally not choose to or not have occasion to talk to in the first place. This seems to me to be a powerful tactic for breaking out of the mimetic grooves in which we tend to think and live. My challenge to you is to find some way to delegate a social decision to someone else over the next week. (For those who join my premium substack community, I will be matching members up for 30-minute serendipitous conversations with someone that I think they should talk to once the community features launch in May. So please consider signing up there if you need help.)


  • 🧠 Quote
    “Love Alone is Credible.” —Hans Urs Von Balthasar, in his book titled the same. At a time when many people feel they are living in a “post-truth” world, I wonder if love alone is the only thing that will restore belief. I don’t mean in a religious sense, I mean in anything: institutions, news, words, relationships, humans, the future.


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