Luke Burgis

In the isolation of the pandemic, our need for social media has been especially acute. It helps us to make sense of who we are. We didn’t know what to desire. So we turned to other people, on our phones, to tell us:

Watch Tiger King, drink negronis, adopt dogs…

Filming a piece about my writing process at the Big Board bar where I wrote part of a chapter of “Wanting.” All photos courtesy of the author.

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When I say “don’t try this at home,” I mean that. My approach to writing involves spending a lot of time outside of the home. I’m the…

What follows is a story that was originally intended to appear in Chapter 2 of my book about mimetic desire, Wanting. This is an extended cut.

In the summer of 2017, ten members of Harvard’s incoming class of 2021 class had their offers of acceptance rescinded after administrators discovered a…

The home library of former Johns Hopkins University Humanities professor Richard A. Macksey, once a friend and colleague of the great cultural anthropologist, René Girard.

The Reflexivity of Books

Winston Churchill famously said that “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” The remark came during a debate about how to rebuild the Commons Chamber, which had been bombed during a blitz. …

“The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church,” wrote the second-century Christian Tertullian. The more that martyrs were made, the faster the early church grew. The martyrs provided a rallying cry, a witness, a warning.

In a strange and twisted way, this is exactly what has been…

Ferruccio Lamborghini, former tractor manufacturer and founder of the legendary supercar maker.

“Rivalry exists at the very heart of human social relations.” — René Girard

The great social theorist René Girard realized that people are naturally inclined to desire what their neighbors possess — or even what their neighbors simply desire. …

A depiction of a scene from the movie “Dune”

“When is a gift, not a gift?” asks a character in the movie Dune. House Atreides has been ‘gifted’ with control of the planet Arrakis, but as soon as they get there they realize that the entire operation has been sabotaged. …

What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the…

Luke Burgis

Author of “WANTING: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life.” Find more at read.lukeburgis.com

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