I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Freedom to imitate

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other."

Eric Hoffer
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms

This quote fits nicely into our recent discussion on mimetic desire.


tamie said...

I've been thinking about this quote. Can we define 'free to do as they please'....who would make people free in this way? What does it mean to be free in this way? And how often does it actually happen?

hoosier reborn said...

but yet we are called to imitate Christ....but free to do so?

It's been a long time since I've stopped by....love the absence/presence from God post. I think that even in our perceived "absence of God" we look back to those times and realize He was there...maybe intentionally choosing to remain silent, but allowing us to grow in the not-knowing. Which sounds a lot like the cheesey footprints in the sand thing.


Jonathan Erdman said...

Ha ha, yeah HR, it does sound like you are tracking some cheesy footprints in the sand! But I see your point and it's a good one.

From an existential standpoint, it seems like it may not matter. By "existential" I simply mean to refer to how we actually experience life. In other words, if we feel the absence of God, then from an existential perspective, it doesn't matter if God is with us or not, the point is that we feel the void of his absence.

I believe that God is always in and with us, as She is with all people and things due to His omnipresence: "in him we live and move and have our being"....."where can I go from your presence? If I go to Sheol, you are there...." But what I think is important is the sense we have that God is with us or that She is not.

Imitation of Christ....hhmmmmm.....yeah, there is a healthy sense there. I think there is also a very damaging sense of "imitating Christ." I know that many Christians from my background comb through the Bible eagerly looking to see What Would Jesus Do?!?!? And trying to imitate behaviors or attitudes toward specific circumstances in their lives. The problem is that this seems to short circuit the spiritual learning process and the wisdom gained by working through life rather than just applying someone else's template, even if that template was a pretty darn good one (as in the case of Christ).

A few thoughts.

Jonathan Erdman said...



I missed this comment somehow!


To take up your concern......what does it mean to "do as one pleases"? Is it possible to find out what one "really wants" or "really desires" without reference to our embededness or interconnectedness??? I'm not simply saying that we are a product of our culture/society in some deterministic way, but it seems like "what I want" is also intimately connected with what others tell me I should want (whether they tell me explicitly or implicitly). And yet, there does seem to be a sense in which we make decisions that are ours and that are not dictated by simply going with the flow of popular opinion. Even so, are these feelings of autonomy (it was "my" decision) just an illusion???