Anonymous asked:

please please please elaborate on girard and the invention of the monarchy if you've got the time i would Love to know more???

in the chapter on dionysus girard says

“in festivals in which the monarch plays no direct role we encounter a substitute king—sometimes a “king of fools”—who is himself nothing more than a sacrificial victim endowed with sacral privileges; at the conclusion of the festivities, he or his representative will be sacrificed. The king’s sovereignty—real or imagined, permanent or temporary—seems to derive from an original, generative act of violence inflicted on a surrogate victim.”

so like festivals often involve a substitute king (like the saturnalicius princeps but do NOT @ me about frazer because i have not and will not read him) who in a more murder-y version of the festival would be the intended sacrificial victim. elsewhere in v&s there’s stuff about how the scapegoat is often retroactively given / seen as having Power because the sacrifice of previous victims had the Power to resolve the mimetic crisis and this part just applies that idea to substitute kings at festivals.

(related passage from sacrifice)

But what about the king? Is he not at the very heart of the community? Undoubtedly—but it is precisely his position at the center that serves to isolate him from his fellow men, to render him casteless. He escapes from society, so to speak, via the roof, just as the pharmakos escapes through the cellar. The king has a sort of foil, however, in the person of his fool. The fool shares his master’s status as an outsider—an isolation whose literal truth is often of greater significance than the easily reversible symbolic values often attributed to it. From every point of view the fool is eminently “sacrificeable,” and the king can use him to vent his own anger. But it sometimes happens that the king himself is sacrificed(!!!)”

BUT then in the unity of all rites things get a bit weirder:

“What is essential is the granting of authority during his lifetime to someone who is designated as a future victim and who draws his power and prestige retroactively from the reconciling power of the original scapegoat. With the passage of time the substitute victim’s authority becomes more durable, more stable; the factors opposing it lose their importance, and another victim, human or animal, is substituted for the king. Everything that has to do with the reverse side of supreme authority—wrongdoing and humiliation, maleficent violence and sacrificial punishment—becomes merely “symbolic” and soon disappears from view. The vestiges of ritual are like traces of chrysalis clinging to an insect; they are soon discarded. Sacred royalty is transformed into royalty pure and simple, into political power. 
When we consider the monarchy of the Ancien Régime in France or any other traditional monarchic system, we cannot help wondering whether it would not be more profitable to consider these institutions in the light of sacred kingship than in the light of modern ideas about monarchy. The concept of Divine Right is not just a fiction made up on the spur of the moment to keep the king’s subjects in line. The life and death of the monarchic concept in France—its sacred rites, its fools, its cure of scrofula through the royal touch, the grand finale of the guillotine—all this is clearly structured by the influence of sacred violence. The sacred character of the king—that is, his identity with the victim—regains its potency as it is obscured from view and even held up to ridicule. It is in fact then that the king is most threatened. 
[...] We may go a little further and ask ourselves whether this description does not transcend the subject of monarchy strictly conceived to embrace broader concepts of sovereignty and, indeed, all forms of central power that owe their existence to the surrogate victim.”

basically he’s saying that monarchy actually developed from “sacred kingship.” the sacred “king” and substitute “king” often found in festivals aren’t like. weird sacrificial Versions or doubles of normal, non ritual kingship, but sacred “versions of” kingship and actual kingship both just grew out of the scapegoat mechanism and that’s why they look so similar. in other places in the book there’s stuff about how the scapegoat gains more power the longer the sacrifice is delayed from like. the anticipation of violence. and so the og monarch is just a scapegoat who managed to escape being sacrificed for so long that they Obtained Power


little pieces of fluff scattered around the house...... what crime has been committed here


does anyone want me to post my hypmic guy thread here. how would that work on tumblr actually. WAIT I GOT IT. ok i post like ten at a time. thatll work


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