Friday, November 2, 2007

Structure, Not Themes

One of the first lessons I learned from Gil Bailie's exploration and explication of mimetic theory is this: Don't get distracted by the themes of events being dictated by the primitive Sacred -- particularly during a sacrificial crisis -- pay attention to the structure of what is happening.

Today, as never before it is crucial when examining the events swirling in and around Islam's confrontation with the West to keep this in mind. This is something I tried to emphasize in The Swastika and the Scimitar. If there is one thing both Nazi ideology and Islam have long agreed upon, it is a hankering to annihilate Jews. How can a mythomaniacal polytheistic paganism and a rabidly monotheistic religion speak with one another and even find common ground? Don't get caught in their themes -- pay close attention to their structures. Namely, their common need for a "sub-human" and all-evil victim: the "stinking" Jew (sic).

Themes are getting increasingly confusing today, as the swirl of the sacrificial crisis spins with ever increasing speed. One-time allies nip and bite at one another in both the Islamic realm and in the West. Without the benefit of the "ontological density" of which Henri Cardinal de Lubac spoke, provided by the means of ordinary grace in the Church, and the extraordinarily helpful tool of Girard's mimetic theory in service to the Magisterium, merely secular Western patriotism is doomed to succumb in its vortex.

Pay close attention to the structure of sacrifice -- the need for more prestigious victims or greater number of victims -- as evidence of the primitive Sacred in action. Where there is human sacrifice, whether in abortuaries, in foreign fields, and as targets of terrorism, and you know you are looking at paganism, regardless of what themes and delusions the actors drum up and pour forth.

No comments: