Rene Girard – “Envy in our world is the real unconscious, the real taboo”

From “Reading the Bible with Rene Girard: Conversations with Steven E. Berry” by Michael Hardin, Scott Cowdell

As for mediated desire, the more democratic the world becomes, the less concrete difference there is between people. Everybody wants to be a billionaire today, and quite a few achieve it. We have a friend at Stanford who made 50 million dollars, in spite of not having a cent to start with. So everything is possible, but these examples are attractive, they’re a mimetic model, which means everybody wants to become a millionaire or marry a princess. This is the world of internal mediation, and it’s inevitably a world of jealousy and envy. Envy in our world is the real unconscious, the real taboo. You mustn’t talk about envy. I think one of the reasons we talk so much about sex, and pretend that we’re very daring when we talk about sex, is that deep down we’re avoiding talking about competition, and therefore about envy. Sex is the false taboo that everybody brags about breaking because they don’t talk about their real motivation, which is ambition, envy of a billionaire or the husband of the most beautiful girl; but usually sex in our world is not the object of a sufficient taboo to be the force that it seems to be. I think it’s ceasing to be that, because all romantic love is disappearing.

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