Violence, Penetration, and the Girardian Geometry of Desire (Part 2)

Thomas Ryba

Ph.D., Professor in History and Literature of Religions, Notre Dame Theologian in Residence @ St. Thomas Aquinas Center, Purdue; Senior Lecturer, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.

Address: 535 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906, USA.

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Abstract: This is my continuation of a two-part analysis of the Girardian geometry of desire. I presented the first part in the previous issue of Researcher. In this second part, I make a case that the loci of desire for the sadist and masochist coincide in a limited way, but that both possess a form of invulnerability that makes unity impossible. Here, I also extend my Girardian analysis to terrorism to make a case that terrorist organizations intend either to stop superpowers from realizing their desire for particular objects or to compel them to question their justification for holding on to them.

Key words: René Girard, mimetic theory, violence, desire, vulnerability, structuralism, sadism, masochism, terrorism, subjectivity.

Received at April 02, 2019.

How to cite: Ryba, Thomas (2019). Violence, Penetration, and the Girardian Geometry of Desire (Part 2). Researcher. European Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences. 3 (2), 49–65.


Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article. This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Summary of This Essay’s First Part

In the last issue, I: (1) established that a root metaphor for violence is a penetrating injury and cited examples of this metaphor functions in two diverse fields, (2) discussed the basic structure of Girard’s notion of mediated desire, and (3) used that structure to recount Girard’s explanation of sadism and masochism. In the second part of my essay  the part contained in this issue ― I will modify and apply Girard’s triadic structure to explain more complex varieties of mimetic behavior, finishing with a discussion of sadism, masochism, and terrorism, and showing that the logic of each challenges some of his explanations, while providing an interpretation of violence that broadens it beyond scapegoating.

6.Some Augmentations and Extensions of the Girardian Theory of the Mediation of Desire

I would argue that, as a supplement to the Girardian theory of mediation, the immanentization of the model might be so extreme as to coincide with the object or, reflexively, to the subject. What this suggests, metaphorically, is that Girard’s triangle of mediation subtends a point on an arc linking subject and object. Graphically:

In the above diagram, on the triangle of desire represented by D S, M1, O, the model M1 is more distant than the model M2 on D S, M2, and O. The arc in the picture, according to what Girard explicitly says, can vary in its curvature as a function of the lengthening of the altitude of D S, M1, O a great relative distance expressing the distantiation of the model from its subject, but there is a limit to that altitude. Beyond a certain distance, the altitude signifies a distance that is sufficient to make the model transcendent or, in Girardian terms, an “external model”.

As the altitudes of these triangles go to zero along the arc they coincide with the subject at one end and the object on the other. This is a happy representation because there are indeed cases where model and object can coincide just as subject and object can coincide. I will call this arc the arc of the congruence of mediation.

One thing should be clear, here. I am not suggesting (against Girard) that a real identification of mediator and object, or mediator and subject, is possible. No one absolutely possesses this freedom from negative or positive mimesis. The immanentization cannot be perfect because the subject always, to some degree, falsely constructs herself and her object as well as her mediator, even when she identifies the latter with herself. The subject as mediator or the object as mediator is always, already (to some degree) a projection of the subject. The desire for the other whether it is viewed as coming from the self or as issuing from the other is already a distorting interpretation. When the mediator is viewed as corresponding to the subject, the subject knows herself falsely as mediator; when the mediator corresponds to the object, again the subject knows it ― in part ― as a projection.

But under what circumstances do the model and object coincide? The model and subject coincide when the object of desire is a model for the subject of that desire, particularly when that object is reflexively ― or narcissistically ― focused on self.

It is often said that people are attracted to a person with self-confidence or (more extremely) that the truly vain never lack for admirers. When the subject models his desire on the solipsistically narcissistic self-love of the other, the model becomes the object. The question is whether narcissistic self-love can ever exist without a model? For the narcissist, the object is also a subject, so that possible is the situation where the narcissistic subject can only be narcissistic because of a model that remains undisclosed and unavailable to his lovers. Thus, from the point of view of the object’s desirers, there is no model other than the narcissist, while the narcissist is able to attract only because he possesses a model for his self-love. It may be that this model is the desire of his lover or it may be that that model is external to his admirer. What is important is that narcissism is one of the limit points of mimetic mediation. If anyone can truly love himself solipsistically, then this kind of self-love is one of the limits to the arc of mediation. This absolute self-involvement on the part of the subject makes no object necessary. With respect to desire, it is autoerotic or onanistic. But the subject taken ― as an object ― means that it may still attract without having any real interest about who is attracted. Desire is not reciprocated. Thus one may be enslaved in desire toward things or their bodies in such a way that the model of desire is objective.

Though Girard addresses the structure of reciprocal mediation when both subjects take the other as mediator of the desire for a single body, to my knowledge he does not address the possibility that the object, qua object, can also be the mediator of desire. This represents the other side to the arc of congruence ― the circumstance that the object has become an object of fascination in itself, something whose properties hold a sui generis attractiveness neither accessible nor exactly possessible. I would argue this is precisely what occurs in the fetishistic attachment to a body part, item of clothing, etc.

But Girard’s original notion may be complicated further. First, there is the dynamism of the subject in relation to his object, which may also be another subject. The fact that two subjects would not likely possess the same model means that each might not find the other an object of desire. Unrequited love is the stuff of which such dissymmetries are made. Second, there is no reason that there cannot be multiple models for a single subject, simultaneously. Third, there is no reason that these multiple models cannot be of mixed kinds. Thus, it would be possible for one to have an external or transcendent mediator and an internal or imminent mediator, at the same time. There might, indeed, be conflicts of interest concerning the desires these mediators installed in the subject, but that is a fact of human existence which is well known. What I have in mind is illustrated by a series of two diagrams:

The above diagram represents the situation where the desired object is a subject (O/S) and this subject has her own mediator (MO/S) that determines the nature of the desire for her object S/O. The arrows indicate the direction of desire. This is the situation of reciprocal desire between two subjects, each of whom is the object of desire for the other. Each desires the other but clearly according to different values as determined by their respective mediators. Represented is a circumstance where mediation is not reciprocal, though each takes the other as an object of desire but according to different standards. As we well know, there is nothing to prevent the desire for the other to be unrequited. As an example for this case, we might have a chain of subjects each taking the next for an object of desire but without there being a reciprocal relationship between any two subjects. This is a phenomenon found often enough in life as well as in works of imagination. In life, it usually constitutes a tragedy, whereas, in fiction, it is usually treated as comedy.

There is yet another form of mediated desire that is worthy of consideration. It is represented by the diagram below.

The above diagram represents double mediation of desire, one of the mediators being a transcendental mediator (MT = external mediator), the other being an immanent mediator (MI = internal mediator)[1]. In such a situation, both the immanent mediator and transcendent mediator can determine ― in a confused way ― what the individual’s desires will be. This is the stuff that conflicts of interests, duties, choices, and values, are made of.

Now it may be that the either the transcendent or the immanent mediator is at odds with the other with respect to desires or that the mediators are themselves of mixed varieties. For example ― as is often the case ― it may be that the transcendental mediator absolutizes the desires of the subject, while the immanent mediator becomes the competitor or strategic obstacle in the subject’s striving to attain the concrete objects of desire. This would be the bifurcation of mediators that characterizes the conflicted individual. It would also be possible that each model might converge with a different pole of the subject-object relation such that, for example, the self is (falsely) experienced as the locus of internal mediation while some objectification ― the law, for example ― is taken as the (false) locus of the transcendent.

7.Desire is not Merely about External Having but is also about Union

One might compound Girard’s discussion of the mediation of desire with many more diagrams illustrating all of the possibilities that issue from it. This is a testimony to its richness and its truth. However, it seems to me that it has one significant defect. It fails to take account of how violence and vulnerability are related to union. In certain cases, Girard treats desire too reductively, almost entirely according to relations of externality and coordination. For this reason, he preemptively forecloses the possibility that what the subject seeks through desire is a kind of internal union with its object that that requires vulnerability in the broad way that I have described it, here. Specifically, the subject’s desires are not exhausted by the will to possess, to have power over, or to control its object, the subject also ― in some sense ― desires to join itself to its object so that it (in some way) becomes its object and/or its object become it. In the classic texts of the Neoplatonic philosophers and the Christian mystics, erotic desire for the divine has this aspect (Hadot 1999 [1989], pp. 10–13, 61–63; Miles 1999, pp. 143–161).

In the ontology of knowledge, according to both traditional and transcendental Thomism, this desire and the intentionality involved in grasping an object make the subject’s intellection of that object an act in which the subject, in some way, formally becomes the object. At the basis of all knowing is the fact that objects are known insofar as they are able (in some sense) to “enter into” and become parts of the subjects by whom they are known. This means that the active and passive processes of consciousness make it possible for the formality (the dynamic structure) of the object to inject itself into consciousness (via an intentional relation to the object) and therein to be conceived or grasped in the form of a concept (conceptus). In a sense, the subject becomes the object (Aristotle De Anima 2:5).

Neither mystical ascent nor realist epistemological mechanics need operate with great shock to the coherent picture that the subject makes of the world, but insofar as that picture is not compact and well structured, consciousness itself becomes vulnerable to penetration by facts that can cause it a catastrophic upheaval. When this happens, we may say my consciousness was raised, or my world-view crumbled. When we say such things, what we are really saying is that the settled complacency of a particular way of seeing the world (or others) was pierced to its core by an inconvenient truth that did violence to it. This implies that the settled view of things was susceptible or vulnerable to a dislocation; otherwise it would have been invulnerable to it and could not have changed.

Such dislocations can be good or bad in their effects, and this speaks to a perspective on violence that does not necessarily place it in the register of evil things. Of course, in this example both the violence and the penetration are metaphorical in the sense described, earlier, even though ― I would argue ― the experience of this rearrangement is an analogy of experience that is homologous to other varieties of vulnerability.

8.Penetration and the Girardian Triangle of Desire

I would now like to turn to two examples where the Girardian notion of mediated desire coupled with the phenomenological recovery of vulnerability may help us to understand human behavior. I propose to show this in two applications. The first is in application to the dynamic of the masochistic and sadistic sexual aberration; the second is in application to the phenomenon of terrorism.

Example 1: mediated desire and vulnerability in the behavior of masochists and sadists: Because it is pitched against the Freudian theory, Girard’s exposition of sado-masochism in Deceit, Desire and the Novel is a tour de force, but it is also incomplete or unconvincing at points. Though I think that Girard’s notion of the mimesis of the mediator provides a way of further characterizing psycho-sexual aberrations such as masochism and sadism, my point in addressing these aberrations is to suggest what the notion of vulnerability understood metaphorically as a piercing or penetration contributes to the picture.

Sadism and masochism as correlative aberrations constitute a complex dialectic. It is often imagined that ideal pairing is that of a sadist to a masochist, but this is not accurate. The old joke that a masochist says “Hurt me, hurt me!” and the sadist says, “No!” allows us entry into the open-ended dialectic of this pairing. One might think that a masochist would be truly hurt and thus pleased by the sadist’s response and reciprocally that the sadist would be truly pleased to hurt the masochist, but that is only in the first moment. If the pain of the other is the pleasure of the sadist, but the pleasure of the masochist is to experience pain because of the other, then the process is actually without resolution, so long as they both know the hedonic state of the other. If the sadist saying “No” means that the masochist experiences no pleasure, then the sadist is pleased, but if the masochist is pleased at the sadist’s saying “No” and the sadist knows it, there is no satisfaction on the part of the sadist. This dialectic is what pushes sadistic-masochistic pairings to the limit, a limit which, not uncommonly, results in the death of the masochist patient at the hands of the sadist agent. It is the dialectical nature of their desire that (in playing out their bizarre sexual games) every time the masochist finds pleasure in some new limit of torture, the sadist must raise the stakes to make it unpleasurable so that he will be gratified.

Even without the Giradian theory of mediated desire, the dialectical nature of the sadist-masochist pairing is evident. But there is more to the sadomasochistic pairing than that the sadist enjoys hurting and the masochist enjoys being hurt. As Girard acutely observes, at the root of psychosexual sadomasochism there is metaphysical desire. But it seems to me that the notion of vulnerability and the kind of violence it implies provides a key to an expanded understanding of the kind of metaphysical desire involved.

The masochist seeks not only an absolute master to dominate her but she is locked in the impossible desire for union with the transcendent. She wants ontological absorption in or invasion by the being of the other. This absolute invasion by, or absorption into the being of the (false) transcendent implies a nihilation that corresponds, as Girard suggests, to the masochist’s own self-evaluation. It is thus a nihilation that comes with pain, and that pain, because it is a fulfillment of the masochist’s wish for nullity, reflexively brings pleasure. But, as Girard correctly observes, this desire will be ultimately frustrated because the wish is an impossibility. Moreover, the vulnerability the masochist presents to his/her partner is a false vulnerability. In the case of extreme psychosexual masochists, what masquerades as vulnerability is really the desire to control and script the absorption, a priori. The masochistic sex act often involves the precise scripting of the other’s violent actions. And for this reason extreme psychosexual masochism is the radical instrumentalization of the other. This is made clear in a harrowing description the French psychoanalyst Michel M’Uzan (Lander 2005, p. 184) presents in his book From Art to Death:

This perverse masochistic man, whom we will call Monsieur M., finds his male perverse partners through a contract, that is, he pays them for a special sexual act. The masculine prostitutes he hires must follow a rigid script he presents to them. Following the script, the paid lover engages in a brutal verbal humiliation <...> and then starts to introduce physical pain. In this case the masochistic act is accompanied by mutilations: the amputation of M.’s little toe and nipples, needles of old record players stuck in his testicles, etc. Everything is carried out under <...> orders[2].

Contrary to some characterizations, it is not a straight path from the pain inflicted on the masochist to her pleasure. According to the Lacanian psychoanalyst, Romulo Lander, the masochist experiences pleasure because she “is sure” her torturer does (Lander 2005, p.184). But this may well be projection. Usually, the completion of the masochistic sexual act is inverted and autoerotic. The extreme masochist does not require a partner who actually experiences pleasure in performing the sadistic act. It is enough that the masochist imagines that she does. To put it another way, the extreme masochist imaginatively projects the terms of the encounter; the real subjectivity of the other is irrelevant. All that is required is that one has a living instrument to carry out the script.

To me, this suggests that masochism is an aggressive utilitarianism masquerading as vulnerability. It is the extreme masochist who is the supreme master of the sexual encounter even as she disguises herself as vulnerably passive. Returning to what I said earlier about the arc of congruence, it is the masochist (who in absolute terms) identifies the model or mediator with the desired object; so that there is an apparent coincidence between sadistic partner and mediator of desire and a complete submission to him. In reality, however, the mediator is a projection out of the masochistic subject and has little reality in the sadist. It is only because the masochist imagines that the partner is experiencing pleasure in torture of the kind that the masochist finds exciting that the masochist is herself excited. This is to desire the desire of the other but that desire is already an imaginative projection. Graphically, we can represent the desire of the masochist as follows:

Here, O (M) is a projection of M by S into O. This projection of the mediator into the object also explains why masochism is so often accompanied by fetishistic attachments. Because objects and actions take on an aura of desirability by virtue of their coinciding with the model of desire, they can hold an almost magical power over the fetishist/masochist. This objectification of desire is actually a reversal of the vulnerability the masochist claims to possess according to appearances. Actually, it is the masochist who does violence to the desire of the other by forcing an imaginative substitution of her desire for that of the partner.

Some normal partners are drawn into the role of sadist because of the doubly-reflected desire they perceive in the masochist, not aware that this desire is narcissistic and has no relation to the normal partner, except to use him as instrument. Masochists frequently draw those otherwise unwilling to be sadistic into sexual relations with them because they know their own manifest pleasure resulting from the desire they project onto their partner will excite the non-sadistic partner. Usually, the non-sadistic partner will terminate the relationship, after the masochist’s specifications cross a boundary into what the partner thinks is excessive. It seems to me that this is the only kind of masochistic-sadistic pairing that warrants Girard’s claim that masochism is at the root of sadism: it is when the person playing the role of sadist is initiated into the masochist’s erotic script.

On the other hand, extreme sadism ― or sadism sui generis ― represents a real break with masochism. It does not require the “partner” to be a masochist only that the “partner” suffers. According to the Girardian geometry, the arc of congruence of mediation converges with the subjecthood of the sadist. Graphically, we can represent this as follows:

Here, the sadist imaginatively projects into himself the model of absolute desire. Sadism thus involves a coincidence of mediator and subject that is internalized and not mediated by the object. It is auto-injective. The masochist may cooperate with the actions of the sadist, but the cause of each subject’s pleasure is different. Though the origin of the sadist’s desire is most certainly mimetic, the sadist believes it to be self-contained within himself. The pleasure experienced by the extreme sadist is metaphysical in this sense: his desire is not to be absorbed or to be pierced by another subject but to pierce the other, to invade the other, and to consume the other as object. It is to do this by causing pain, not pleasure. Here, again, is an extreme instrumentalism requiring the vulnerability of the victim. In the case of sadism, however, that instrumentalism is not directed to get the other to experience desire by the infliction of pain but to experience pleasure by inflicting pain on the other.

The desire of the sadist is to “inscribe” himself in the flesh of the other. The sadist is the agent of pain, and it is from the power of his agential violation of the patient that he receives pleasure. In its extreme form, the patient is irrelevant to the sadist, except as the subject of pain and fear. A complete objectification of the patient ― as passive object ― is achieved on the basis of the sadist’s complete subjectivization of desire. Here, the masochist is the patient of pain, who is reduced to an object by the sadist’s erotic joy in hurting. For the masochist, the pleasure comes from making herself patient to the other’s piercing but only inasmuch as that piercing is understood expression of an already reflected desire. For the sadist, the piercing, itself, the inflicting of pain, is the object of desire, simpliciter. Any sign that the patient of pain begins to experience pleasure, and the sadist attempts to overcome this with greater pain. The masochist projects the desire of her partner as her own. The sadist has no interest in the desire of the other. Both distort the subjectivity of their others, yet the paradox is that both require another subject for pleasure.

The coincidence of the desires of the sadist and masochist can be expressed graphically in the following structure:

Here, the locus of the desire of the both the sadist and the masochist coincide, but they are different desires. The sadist sees his own subjectivity as the locus of the mediator of desire, and in this the masochist is in agreement, but the desire that each perceives there is different. The masochist projects a desire into the sadist that is not necessarily there. Thus, the dialectic of satisfaction between masochist and sadist has a measure. That measure can be represented as ‘Ms/Mm’ or ‘Ms-Mm,’ where ‘/’ indicates opposition or ‘-’ difference. The smaller the difference in respective desires, the more the sadist and masochist will be coordinated in their actions, the greater the opposition and difference, the more the interaction will have the possibility for careening out of control.

What is the significance of all of this? So long as the masochist and sadist recognize something of an imaginatively unconstructed subjecthood in the other, there can be a limited coordination of their desires and limited pleasure. But this coordination is just that ― a coordination of externality, not union. It may be injective and involve the vulnerability of the masochist, but that vulnerability is not unitive in any deep sense. When, however, the sadist deviates from the script of the masochist and the masochist becomes excited by the obvious excitement of the sadist at the deviation, then the mimetic dialectic accelerates and gives rise to the real possibility of ending in the death of the masochist. Before the dialectic of desire reaches its deadly outcome, one or both partners must end the interaction, or the masochist will be killed. For the sadist, the death of the masochist is the ultimate vulnerability. But it is a transgression that destroys the other and thus stops the repetition of pleasure. The sadist may, therefore, go on to repeat this act with other victims, as serial killers often do.

According to my interpretation, both the masochist and the sadist possess a kind of relative invulnerability. They operate without impedance so long as their others fail to penetrate their subjectivities. Here, one might ask, whether it might not be appropriate to characterize each condition as a flight from vulnerability? The therapeutic penetration of the masochist might entail the realization that his erotic reaction is a mere reflection. It would be to substitute for a desire for desire a desire for a real other. The therapeutic penetration of the sadist might be bringing her to realize the pain and fear of the tortured patient.

Example two: mediated desire and vulnerability in the behavior of terrorists: A shorter example of the way the metaphor of vulnerability coupled with Girardian mimetic theory has the power to illuminate human behavior is the phenomenon of terrorism. I would argue that terrorism is a mirroring phenomenon in which two opponents locked in mimetic rivalry attempt the asymmetric wounding of the other.

In the case of terrorism, what one has are two rivals, each with two mediators of desire. Both terrorist organization and superpower possess a transcendental mediator of desire as expressed in their respective ideologies, whether secular or religious. These define a set of expectations about what each organization is warranted to desire, and is generally viewed as unquestionable by each.

The second set of mediators of desire, on the other hand, are not transcendental but are proximate and near at hand. I would argue that the terrorist organization and the superpower take each other as internal mediator. According to the Giradian understanding, this means that each falsely constructs the other according to its pursuit of the desired objects, so that every move toward possession of those objects is viewed through the lens of a projection based upon a false understanding of what the other is and desires. Again, it is possible to give graphic representation to this structure. The structure looks like this:

The difference in distances of the respective transcendental mediators (the TM-s) indicates a dissymmetry between the absolutism of the warranting principles of desire. The superpower generally does not view its own transcendental warrants of desire to be as unquestionable as the terrorists view their own warrants. Another way of putting this is that the terrorist has greater certainty about his cause. On the other hand, each takes the other as its internal mediator of desire (Mt & Ms); each sees the other as a competitor for the same objects. The asymmetry of power (which is on the side of the superpower) and the asymmetry (which allows it to keep and hold the objects of desire) mean that the terrorist organization must seek an instrumentality by which to force the superpower to call into question its warrant for desire or possession. Terror is that means.

Because the force of the superpower cannot be met by equal force, the terrorist must devise a means by which to effect a change in the desire of the superpower for the objects the terrorist organization also desires. The way of the terrorist is to look for the point of vulnerability of the superpower, to wound it, and to introduce through that wound a disorganizing agent that will lessen the desire of the superpower to hold its objects. The terrorist act is the means by which the vulnerability of the superpower is used to advantage. The effect of that act is either to make too costly the holding of the desired objects or to force the superpower to call into question its own transcendental warrant or both. The second is tantamount to undermining the legitimations used by the superpower to justify its actions. The response of the superpower ― in its vulnerability ― is either to acquiesce to the disruption of its desires and warrants or to seek a means by which to wound or disrupt the terrorist organization. The mimetic game each plays is complicated by the fact that neither, initially, really understands the transcendental warrant of each, nor does each really understand the nature of the desires and motivations of the other. Rather, each interprets the other’s every action as having strategic meaning in the context of its own construction of the other. It is only practically, in mimetic encounters and clashes, that the true nature of the other emerges from behind the accretions projected onto the opponent from within each organization’s worldview. In each case, what each rival attempts to do is to transgress the ideological boundaries of the other organization and to make its own desires and warrant present, where they have otherwise been excluded. Each attempts to penetrate the other ideologically.


Girard’s theory of mimetic rivalry has been mostly used to explain corporate violence of the variety called “scapegoating”. But, I have argued that in its semantics, the concept of violence is rooted in a wider set of phenomena connected to vulnerability and the metaphors of “piercing” and “penetration”. An expanded, and slightly corrected, adaptation of Girard’s exposition of masochism and sadism ― one that pushes the structuralism of his geometry of desire perhaps further than he intended ― shows that the sadist and the masochist, each, in his or her own way, engage in an act of violence which, though it has prior social mediators, is unrelated to scapegoating, except inasmuch as it falsely constructs the other and instills fear and pain. The masochist attempts to transgress the subjecthood of the sadist to “install” desire, there, in order to experience pleasure. The sadist attempts to transgress the objecthood of the masochist to wound it, in order to experience pleasure. Terrorists and superpowers use asymmetric means to transgress ideological boundaries in order to disrupt desire in the pursuit of common objects.

The triadic structure of desire also can be read as a possible to key to therapies for desire. Historically, these therapies have addressed different parts of the Girardian triad. Though Girard posited imitation as essential to human nature, he never suggested that it was possible to do away with imitative behavior, but he did think that it was possible to choose the mediators of desire, wisely, and especially to choose transcendental mediators that would not entangle one in rivalry. It was in this context that he proposed the imitatio Dei as a principal path to the healing of desire[3]. But other possible therapies are available, as well. The total cessation of desire (dukkha-nirodha) in the Buddhist tradition is one such alternative. Another is the eremitic path, the physical separation of self and “fasting” from things and others. As the history of their practice shows, each of these therapies comes with a host of complications that makes none of them easy, though all three presuppose something broadly understood as “death to self”.

But that is another story.



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[1] It seems to me that the language of immanent (in the real world) and transcendent (that is in the world of aspiration, imagination, and/or metaphysically beyond) better gets at Girard’s key notions.

[2] Michel de M’Uzan’s De l’art à la mort cited by Lander, R. (2005). Subjective Experience and the Logic of the Other, F. Judith (Trans.). New York: Other Press.

[3] See my essay “Desire and Ontological Nihility in Augustine and Girard”, forthcoming in S. Belangia, & G. Dunne (Eds.). Girard and the Western Philosophical Tradition. East Lansing: MSU Press.

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