Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Girard - Battling to the End

René Girard makes this statement at the outset of his new book, Battling to the End:
What we are saying will become more understandable with time because, unquestionably, we are accelerating swiftly towards the destruction of the world.
Now, I said to myself, Self, here is a loaded statement befitting a man, albeit a fine man of renown, who is nearing his own mortal demise and who is projecting if I've ever seen projection. The irksome thing is, the further I read Battling the more Girard is scaring me, too.

Girard has never been clearer in his assessment of the model-obstacle relationship of the doubles, his discernment that reciprocal action that once provoked and suspended the "trend to extremes" is now locked in and accelerating, and the blindness of the warring parties caught in "double mediation."

I do not believe Girard is reflecting at all upon his personal gift of life but limning the subtle outlines of current events; for example, the so-called war on terror that now is being hushed-up even while the drone attacks continue and/or increase. Thus, as Girard points out, the defender is the one who "dictates the rules" to the attacker. That is, as 9/11/01 shows, the United States in its rôle of defender of the peace "dictated" what loopholes were to be sought for and found by its highly successful attacker in the form of jumbo jets in the once-friendly skies.

What is frightening as I continue to read is that Girard sees what the smartest guys in the room do not. Saint Augustine shared the same undesirable shoes as he watched - and prayed - while the "sacrificial crisis" swirled and toppled the once mighty Rome.

1 comment:

Todd said...

The title of the book become a good metaphor for the reading; Battling to the End. It took me three months; with lots of courage and reflection to finish the book. I have read most of Girard's other books and I find him to be arresting. In this latest book he has lifted to human consciousness a trajectory of human development that is both at the same time frightening and potentially transforming. I look forward to the conversation...