Just finished reading a lengthy essay by Mark R. Anspach that serves as the introduction to a collection of studies by Rene Girard entitled Oedipus Unbound.

Excellent stuff. Freud’s “Oedipus Complex” is completely kicked to the curb and can never rise again except with a severe limp.

The essay mostly builds on Girard’s earlier work and uses some excellent examples to further explain the scapegoat mechanism.

Here, we have some of these ideas applied back in the garden of Eden:

“Psychoanalytic man is forever an Adam from paradise becuase he devoured or coveted the forbidden fruit,” writes Girard. But mimetic man covets the fruit BECAUSE it is forbidden; he covets whatever is withheld from him by the mediator, who acts as both model and rival: “The obsession with forbidden fruit is not primary, it is not the cause but the consequence of the rivalry” The paradise of mimetic man is not a place of enjoyment he had to leave, it is the place he cannot go: “The model shows the disciple the gate of paradise and forbids him to enter with one and the same gesture.” Thus, it “is with the model and not the obstacle that the dialectic begins. But this heirarchy will soon reverse itself, dissimulating the true genesis of desire.”

Mark R. Anspach, Imitating Oedipus, p. xxxix

Satan desired to be like God. Eve picked up this desire from the snake. Adam picked up this desire from Eve.

We are so much like God – more so than any other created thing. But we desire what we are missing and he won’t give it to us. And we hate him for it. We were content before we started imitating the serpent.