Quotes and Insights by Rene Girard


  • I See Satan Fall Like Lightning
  • Violence and the Sacred
  • The Scapegoat
  • Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
  • Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure
  • Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky
  • Sacrifice
  • The Girard Reader
  • A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare
  • The One by Whom Scandal Comes
  • Anorexie et désir mimétique
  • To Double Business Bound: Essays on Literature, Mimesis and Anthropology
  • Proust: A collection of critical essays




  • Learning that we have a scapegoat is to lose it forever and to expose ourselves to mimetic conflicts with no possible resolution.”
  • “I think the most influential aspect of my work is to show that Judaism and Christianity exist in a continuity with archaic religions.”
  • “When we describe human relations, we usually make them better than they are: gentle, peaceful, and so forth, whereas in reality, they are often competitive.”
  • “I believe that in intense conflict, far from becoming sharper, differences melt away.”
  • “What I call a mimetic crisis is a situation of conflict so intense that on both sides people act the same way and talk the same way even though, or because, they are more and more hostile to each other.”
  • “Why is our own participation in scapegoating so difficult to perceive and the participation of others so easy? To us, our fears and prejudices never appear as such because they determine our vision of people we despise, we fear, and against whom we discriminate.”
  • “If you scapegoat someone, it’s a third party that will be aware of it. It won’t be you. Because you will believe you are doing the right thing”
  • “A scapegoat remains effective as long as we believe in its guilt.”
  • “We don’t even know what our desire is. We ask other people to tell us our desires. We would like our desires to come from our deepest selves, our personal depths – but if it did, it would not be desire. Desire is always for something we feel we lack.”
  • “We are aware that globalization doesn’t mean global friendship but global competition and, therefore, conflict. That doesn’t mean we will all destroy each other, but it is no happy global village, either.”