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The Scapegoat Mechanism


Today on Uncommon Knowledge, philosopher René Girard on the principle that animates nearly every ancient myth: the scapegoat mechanism.

If you look at myths, they all have the same shape. It is always the story of a man who was killed by an entire community.  Take Oedipus – Oedipus is killed, therefore the community gathers around Oedipus because he has solved the problem [of the plague that was afflicting Thebes].  The death of Oedipus unites the community. They have a moment where they say, “This man divided us, but in order to reconcile us.  Therefore he is a god.”

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