if you go to the anthropological
myth of the Enlightenment it’s the myth
of the social contract so what happens
when everybody is that everybody’s
else’s throat what the Enlightenment
says is everybody in the middle of the
crisis sits down and has a nice legal
chat and draws up a social contract and
that’s maybe maybe that’s the founding
myth the central lie of the
Enlightenment if you will and what
Girard says something very different
must have happened and when everybody’s
at everybody’s throat the violence
doesn’t just resolve itself and maybe it
gets channeled against a a specific
scapegoat where the war of all against
all becomes a war can of all against one
and then somehow gets resolved but in a
in a very violent way and so I think you
know what what Girard and Schmidt or
Machiavelli or you know the
judeo-christian inspiration all have in
common is this idea that human nature is
problematic its violent it’s um you know
it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s not
straightforward at all what what you do
with this on it’s not sort of simply
utopian or where we can say that
everybody’s not fundamentally good where
someone like Gerard and Schmidt very
much disagree is that Gerard believes
that once you describe this it has this
dissolving effect so scapegoating
violence only works if you don’t
understand what you’re doing and so if
we say well we have we have a crisis in
our village and we’re gonna have a
so that everybody can you know get out
all their negative energy and you know
will target this one elderly woman that
only works if you don’t think of it as a
fake psychosocial thing right once you
think of it in those terms it stops to
work and so there’s sort of a there is
the sense of late modernity where this
unraveling has been for Girard an
it’s both a bad thing because they’re
these cultural institutions that were
the only way we had ever had of working
and they’re there unraveling
but it’s also inevitable we can’t
somehow put the genie back into the
Mimetic Desire: A Valuable Theory
You don’t have to believe in everything Peter Thiel says to take interest in René Girard’s mimetic theory, which argues that what we desire what we percieve others desire.
Mimetic Desire in Children
If 3 three-year-olds are in a room full of toys and one child grabs a toy, which toy do the other 2 children want?
The Answer: the toy the first child grabbed.
Why: They want it because the first child wants it.
This obviously leads to conflict, so there must be something more going on.
Girard’s answer is that we unconsciously redirect our conflicts to an external scapegoat, who distracts us from our immediate conflicts.
About René Girard:
you think they’re going to go well it’sbeen a it’s been an incredible success Iwould I would never bet against a longin anything so I think that’s sort ofyou know hard hard rule number one umit’s probably you know if you sort ofask what is it that the innovationwhat’s what’s been the innovation inSpaceX or Tesla on the many differentforms innovation takes the most commonone we’re used to is sort of you launchsomething and then you iterativelyimprove it sort of this continuousimprovement model we occasionally have amodality of innovation we have a bigbrilliant breakthrough like maybeBitcoin where Sony who worked on it in acloset for 10 years and then releasethis amazing discovery to the world butI think there’s another modality ofinnovation that’s that’s very underratedis what I described is complexcoordination where you just take a lotof different pieces and the innovationis to combine them in a new way so ifyou ask what is new about SpaceX rocketsor Tesla cars you know all thecomponents already existed at least inthe initial designs and the criticalthing was to pull them all together in ain a new form and and that sort ofvertical integration on you know issomewhat capital intensive which is whyit’s quite hard to get it financed butit’s done very little and and so andthen once it’s done it’s something thattends to get underrated I think AppleApple’s iPhone the first smartphone thatreally worked is another example ofcomplex coordination and whenpeople as you know people writebiographies on jobs it’s like well hewas a jerk and that’s that’s the mostinteresting thing and what would reallyis interesting is how was he able tomotivate all these people to build thiscompletely new product and it was thatyou could you could do somethingincredible not by inventing any specificthing that was new but bringing all thepieces together in just the right wayand that’s that’s what the iPhonerepresentedthat’s what Tesla represents with carsor or SpaceX with rockets and what isthe no pun intended the trajectory ofSpaceX do you think because he’s nowgotten you know to space many timesgotten to the space station many timesand he’s almost landed the reusablerocket he’s tried twice and it’s it’swhat it’s apparent he’s going to get itand that’s truly innovative yes well Ithink I think I think having built thisvertically integrated rocket companyit’s now possible to innovate on that inways that we much harder if you had thissuper complicated subcontract or subsubcontractor system where all thecomponents are bespoke and you can’tinnovate on the whole thing so havingintegrated all the pieces you caninnovate if they if they get to
This week on Uncommon Knowledge, host Peter Robinson mediates a discussion between PayPal founder and Stanford Professor Peter Thiel and Velocity Capital Management founder and journalist Andy Kessler on the state of technology and innovation in the United States over the past four decades. Thiel argues that, outside of computers, there has been very little innovation in the past forty years, and the rate of technological change has significantly decreased when compared to the first half of the 20th century. In contrast, Kessler asserts that innovation comes in waves, and we are on the verge of another burst of technological breakthroughs. Industries covered include education, medicine and biotechnology, as well as robots and high tech.
World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel discuss technology, chess, Russian and American politics as well as human rights and prospects for the world economy.
The youngest world chess champion in history at 22 in 1985, Kasparov remained the top-rated player in the world for 20 years, until his retirement in 2005. He then became a leader of the Russian pro-democracy movement against Vladimir Putin and is currently the chairman of the NY-based Human Rights Foundation. The Kasparov Chess Foundation promotes chess in education around the world with centers in the US, Europe, and Africa with more soon to come. Kasparov speaks and writes frequently on technology, decision-making, and risk. His book, “How Life Imitates Chess,” has been published in more than 20 languages.
(45 min) Warren Buffet, America’s richest man in, does not invest in technology.