What is Mimetic Desire?
Have you ever seen children at a party playing with balloons ? One child suddenly grabs a red balloon and yells : “This balloon is mine !” Inadvertently, all the children drop their balloons and fight over that red balloon.
A very dumbed down example of what René Girard (a French historian and polymath) calls ‘Mimetic Desire’.
A lot of our desires don’t emerge from within, but from ‘outside’. We import our most powerful desires from imitating the desires of other people.
In fact, the entire advertising industry is founded on the exploitation of borrowed desire. Human desire is not a linear process where a person autonomously desires an inherently desirable object. Rather, we desire according to the desire of others. If we are not aware, others influence us on what to desire. And this is amplified on social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram which are excellent conduits of mimetic desire.
How to Overcome Mimetic Desire?
French thinker Montesquieu explained it beautifully
If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy ; but we want to be happier than other people which is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.
Be Yourself, Always Be Happy
We first read this post on Dr. Jay Talati’s Facebook page.