Sacrifice and “violence that eats violence”

  At the beginning of his “Sacrifice and Godhood”, René Girard mentioned the famous book “General Theory of Witchcraft: The Nature and Function of Sacrifice” by Mauss and Huber, the anthropologists. He did not deny the contributions of the two gentlemen, but when it came to the discussion of the duality of sacrifice and sacredness, he said that their views were vague and misled a large number of anthropologists in the twentieth century. According to Kilar, all anthropologists are guilty of a mistake: they are accustomed to regard the social contract as a pre-existing and priority system, and they are indifferent to the humanity hidden under this system. It is this mistake that Mauss and Hubert committed. They interpret sacrifice as “sanctification” and are keen to examine the reciprocal relationship between people, things, and gods. They fail to see that the so-called “reciprocity” is only appearance. For sacrifice, the more substantive things are communication, exchange, and mutual benefit. violence and conflict.
  Kilar said:
  … Violence sometimes shows a terrible face to human beings, and it rages in every possible way; sometimes it is the opposite, violence shows a calming side, and it spreads the benefits of sacrifice.
  One cannot penetrate the secret of this duality. They have to distinguish between good violence and bad violence; they want to repeat the good violence while eliminating the bad violence. Ritual is just that… to be effective, the violence of the sacrifice must be as similar as possible to the violence of the non-sacrifice.
Imitation, Discord and Sacrifice

  To understand the essential characteristics of Gilar’s philosophical anthropology, one must first understand the fact that conceptually, it is established precisely by replacing “reciprocity” with “mimetic desire”.
  ”The desire to imitate” refers to the endowment of the most intellectually capable person among all living beings, and specifically refers to the learning mechanism related to the human neural structure. Adding “desire”, Kilar made a distinction between “imitation” and “imitation”; he believes that the former refers to people’s desire to be the same as others and to have the same things, which can easily turn people into opponents, resulting in Conflict, the latter refers to copying another person’s behavior, which is not likely to lead to contention, and the meaning is not negative. Comparing the two, Kilar believes that “imitation” is more fundamental than “imitation”, and can refer to people’s deep instinctive reactions to each other.
  Kilar’s explanation of identity is superficially similar to that of Levi-Strauss, the master of structural anthropology: he also believes that self-other relationship is the source of identity. However, at the level of human nature, he adopted a view opposite to that of Levi-Strauss. He believed that the “desire to imitate” as a human nature cannot provide support for “identification of others”, but only On the contrary, it will inevitably lead to confrontation and conflict between self and others. From the very beginning, people have the desire to imitate others, and what they imitate also includes the things (including women) and power possessed by others. “Little people are in harmony but not in harmony”, the early people are always in serious competition and conflict, and they still lack the realm of “gentleman in harmony but in difference”, and can only rely on religion to overcome competition and conflict. To create and maintain order, in the absence of moral metaphysics, people resort to the method of scapegoating. The so-called “sacrificing the scapegoat” is to let the other in society die for the society, and through death, take away the chaos in the world and achieve order.
  Sacrificing scapegoats is the core feature of sacrifice in a broad sense. It also has the content of exchanging something for something, but this cannot be said to be interpersonal reciprocity. Marginalists are sacrificed in exchange for the resolution of internal conflicts within the community.
  Many scholars are accustomed to distinguishing between human sacrifice and animal sacrifice, but Kilar believes that this distinction is unreasonable, because the animals used for animal sacrifice must have similar characteristics to humans (for example, the cattle of the Nuer people are considered to be the same as extremely similar to human beings), only in this way can they become scapegoats and protect the latter. The sacrifices in human sacrifices are mainly prisoners of war, slaves, minors, scapegoats, and kings. They are either outsiders or enemies, or people who have not fully integrated into the community or “kings” etc. “Outsiders”, these are obviously different and similar existences from the “normal social members” that society wants to protect.
  Kilar likes the scapegoat theory of Fraser, an anthropologist’s predecessor, but he has a soft spot for cannibalism in ethnographic records. He believes that this custom is likely to be the “prototype” of sacrifice. Take the Tupinamba people on the northeastern coast of Brazil as an example. The people who are eaten are prisoners of war captured from hostile tribes. People abused him, despised him, and committed violence. The “food” in the cannibal custom contains a scapegoat mechanism, which is used to “organize close people to fight each other and prevent the exposure of the truth about human beings”, and is the earliest “sacred”. The cannibalism of the Tupinamba shows us: “It is not to eat him that people sacrifice a victim, it is because of sacrifice that people eat him.” The more common animal sacrifices, also So, they are edible because they were sacrificed, “Society seeks to transfer violence to a relatively indifferent victim, a ‘sacrificable’ victim, which is likely to strike The members of society itself, whom society wants to protect at any cost”, the sacrifice “allows people to play tricks with the ‘enemy’ of violence, throwing its deceitful prey at the right time and satisfying it”.
  With the system of “violence for violence”, people also have culture. This is a behavior pattern and concept with the word “violence” at the forefront, but its function is social and positive. “It lies in quelling violence within the ethnic group and preventing Conflict broke out.”
  To say that rituals were instituted to prevent violence and avoid crime sounds a bit like reiterating the account of late nineteenth-century Scottish theo-anthropologist Robertson Smith. Kilar does, like Smith, believe that rituals have positive social functions. However, compared to Smith (RobersonSmith), who is committed to tracing the positive social function of sacrifice in the historical origin, Kilar greatly highlights the negative and violent nature of sacrifice. He believes that, as a symbolic means, sacrifices are characterized by violence, and the targets of violence are internal marginalized people or external entities who threaten the community. Therefore, sacrifices are always exclusive and aggressive. Around the sacrifice, people have developed a sacred “natural religion”, which plays a role in limiting violence, but in order to work, it secretly conspires with violence, which makes people fall into peace and violence for a long time In the inner contradiction formed by the two.
The Myth of Judicial Civilization

  In the 1970s, it was impossible for Kilar to blatantly preach the theory of evolution, but in revealing the deep structure of human history, especially the history of religion and culture, he secretly concealed a certain progress in his academic rhetoric idea. As it asserts, human history is composed of two major stages, and these two major stages are also of two types, namely “society like ours” and “religious society”.
  The so-called “society like ours” refers to the modern society established based on the judicial system, and the so-called “religious society” is actually equivalent to the expanded version of “primary civil society”, which is no different from the “pre-scientific era” of the classical anthropological school, but Kilar uses it specifically to refer to all other societies (including primitive and Eastern ancient societies) that differ from modern societies with mature judicial systems.
  Using this classification, Girard shows that the difference between religious or primitive societies and “societies like ours” is manifested in the extent to which ritual ritual plays a fundamentally different role in the two societies: in the former society, Sacrifice has a decisive social function, and in the latter society, sacrificial rituals are considered devoid of real meaning.

  Then, why did religious society or early civil society rely so heavily on sacrifice? Kilar believes that people in this kind of society are “primitives”, so their “desire to imitate” is the most straightforward and the closest to human nature. Their behavior is not only a manifestation of violence, but also easily leads to the spread of violence within the society , making it a blood revenge that endangers the unity of society.
  Blood vengeance is an endless, endless process, and societies from distant tribal societies to ancient Greece are threatened by it, and there is a vicious circle of it. Violence as the “ontology” of revenge is as easy to spread as a disease, and people living in a society without a judicial system have no prescriptions for curing diseases, they only have means to prevent diseases; the first and foremost is religion. In order to prevent violence, people considered ritualized forms of violence, through religious sacrifices, “transferring the threat of violence from objects close to people to objects that are more distant”, discipline violence, subdue violence, and channel violence to deal with the truly intolerable reduce the threat of blood feud wars to society.
  Kilar believes that the only means by which human beings guard against endless revenge is sacrifice, and sacrifice is only a “preventive means” of violence. Its function is to “make everyone deviate from the spirit of revenge through sacrifice.” With the development of history, there have been regulations and restrictions on revenge, such as reconciliation, duels, etc., and finally the judicial system, a treatment method, has unparalleled effectiveness. “A society like ours” is a society established on the basis of a judicial system. It is completely different from a religious society or a primitive society that lacks a judicial system. Its starting point was in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. After it was established, the reason for the existence of sacrifices disappeared. up. Kilar said: ”
  Like the system of sacrifice, the judicial system conceals—though at the same time reveals—what makes it the equivalent of vengeance, a form of vengeance like all others except that it has no follow-up. vengeance, which itself will not be avenged. In the priestly system, the victim does not get vengeance because he is not the “right” victim; in the judicial system, violence strikes the “right” victim, but its power and authority are so great that any revenge Neither is possible.
  Kilar’s speculation on history has an obvious tendency of traditional/modern dualism, which makes him convinced that, of the two societies, the religious society or the primitive society is the fundamental one, which determines the nature of the judicial system. He defines the fundamentality of tradition as “religiousness in a broad sense”, that is, the means by which human beings resist their own violence. He vaguely treats the historical timeliness of religion, not only regarding it and the judicial system as a system to replace sacrifices, but also as some kind of “founding element”. For them, religiousness “occurs simultaneously with the transcendence (divineness) actually acquired by sacred, reasonable, and legal violence” and is accompanied by sacrifices. The judicial system is different and occurs after religiousness. However, since religion is fundamental, the judicial system must be essentially the same.
  Kilar believes that sacrifices are in principle dedicated to the gods and enjoyed by the gods. The judicial system relies on this “theological principle” to guarantee its “truth of judgment”. Although this set of theological principles later disappeared, its transcendence was preserved in the judicial system. The religious nature expressed by sacrifices and the judicial nature expressed by referees are both designed to overcome the vicious circle of revenge. In essence, they both belong to what we can call “violence for violence”, and belong to “sacrifice in a broad sense”. The difference is that when religion and the judicial system become sacred and rational violence, they are free from censure and questioning, and play a role in preventing society from falling back into the vicious circle of revenge. Especially in the judicial system, where it operates quietly and unbeknownst to people until many centuries later, people realize that there is no difference between their principles of justice and those of vengeance.
  When revealing the “violence for violence” nature of religion and the judicial system and the important role of constructing social order, Kilar oscillates between scientific universalism and civilizational particularism. He defined these two types of societies (or stages) with sacrificial offerings in a broad sense, collected ethnographic and classical documents they possessed, and demonstrated his views on the nature and function of sacrificial offerings. In different chapters of “Sacrificing Animals and Becoming a God”, he showed different emphases. He used some chapters to focus on expressing his views on sacrifices in the “early civil society”, and used other chapters to focus on expressing his views on sacrifices in the Western classical era. Understanding, in more chapters, he intersperses between the two, placing ancient western myths, rituals and tragedies in a broad humanistic world for examination.
  Kilar’s overall impression is that of a universalist, a scholar committed to restoring civilization’s common ground of self and other, showing that the religious and judicial systems of the West in which he lived had something in common with the blood sacrifices of primitive peoples. In essence, it is not a special civilization system. However, at the same time, he pays special attention to “a society like ours”, and when he unfolds his historical narrative, he has an obvious color of particularism in Western civilization. When Kilar explained the evolution of “a society like ours”, he tended to use the transformation of rituals in philosophy and tragedy in the classical Western era to demonstrate. As shown, in the classical era of the West, the sages of Greece and Rome invented tragedy, a form that transformed the narrow sense of sacrifice, and also produced a judicial system that allowed crime, violence, and conflict to be dealt with. Sexual “exorcism” etiquette began to decline.
“Violence that eats violence”

  Kilar’s point of view is obviously: the “base” of Western civilization is consistent with all human beings, but since the late classical age, tragedies and judicial systems have appeared one after another, and Western civilization has gradually distanced itself from that “base” and become an effective one. A system to cure the “disease” of internal violence.
  As one of its psychological results, people are increasingly “forgetting their roots”, making it difficult to understand a society that is different from them, and it is even more difficult to penetrate the common essence that civilized self and others once had. As a concentrated expression of this psychological result, even the greatest scholars tend to forget that “Ben” is closely related to violence, “Ben” is the self-confrontation between violence and violence, or, in other words, auspicious violence and ominous violent struggle.
  Among them, Gilar listed as a typical example is the French linguist Benveniste (Émile Benveniste) who followed Mauss. In his masterpiece “Vocabulary of Indo-European Institutions”, this gentleman traced the original meaning of the word “divine” (Greek “hieros”, Vedic Sanskrit “isi rah”), and clearly pointed out that this word originally had “powerful” The meanings of “strong” and “turmoil” have not only the auspicious “sacred” meaning, but also other meanings such as uncleanness and witchcraft power close to “mana”. However, he does not link the ancient Greek hieros to violence, nor does he note that the French word sacre actually has a double meaning – it inherits “sacred” and “accursed” from the Latin sacer This double meaning contains a certain semantic ambiguity and even an incompatible duality. Benivist also included the entry of “sacrifice” in the “Vocabulary of Indo-European Institutions” to echo his textual research on “sacred”. He said that since “sacredness” has a duality on the one hand, and on the other hand, it must be auspicious from the perspective of the necessity of the progress of civilization, then “sacrifice” is the same, referring to both virtue and witchcraft, and Refers to “sanctification” in the sense of Mauss and Hubert.
  Kilar believes that both Ben and Moss behind him “conceive the relationship with the sacred according to the only mode of the mediator” and “try to interpret the reality of the early people from a religious nature that partially removes the ominous elements”, They do so because they live in “a society like ours” and express the modern ideas which, from the beginning of classical times in the West, have been the basis of religious and judicial means, whose function is to Clear away holy ominous factors.

  Kilar also criticized other modern thinkers, notably Freud and Lévi-Strauss. He praised Freud as a super keen observer and admitted that the Oedipus complex presented by Freud with the help of psychoanalysis existed, but he gave this complex a different explanation. In Freud’s explanation, the Oedipus complex refers to the unconscious formation of sexual desire for the mother by the son during the growth process, and the resulting attempt to kill his father. In Girard’s view, this complex is consistent with what he calls “imitative desire”: the son grows up to identify with his father and has a desire to imitate him, which includes sexual desire for his mother. desire. Under the action of “imitative desire”, the father becomes the model and opponent of the son, and this duality explains the ambiguous emotion of the Oedipus complex.
  Kilar praised Levi-Strauss as a university student who was close to a thorough understanding of human nature, but he was cut off from the illusion of “reciprocity”, and he really couldn’t understand that the truth of revenge between ethnic groups is the essence of the phenomenon of marriage exchange cycle. He even accused Lecht of having “an almost inescapable tendency in his mind to set aside truth”. He paired Levi-Strauss and Levi-Bruhl, saying that the two respectively represent the identity and difference theory of the human mind, and the ideological opposition they constitute reflects the two poles of primitive thinking, that is, Anthropological thought itself swings back and forth between the universal and the particular. With regard to Levi-Strauss’ “anti-sacrificial anthropology”, Kilar’s attitude is that it denies that “the origin of symbolic thinking lies in the Sacrificial Mechanism”, so that the sanctity with historical reality is absent in the synchronic structure, so that “structuralism itself is imprisoned in the structure, in the synchronicity, it cannot detect changes, such as such changes as violence and violent terror”.
  Like Evans-Prichard and his successors, Kilar declared that, to move beyond the confines of structure, anthropologists should pay more attention to the allegories of negative beings, including twins, disease , contagion, inexplicable subversion of meaning, grotesques, utopias, taboos, acts of violence, etc. It is from these “too many but not enough allegories” that Kilar speculates on the progress of civilization in opposition to Levi-Strauss. Levi-Strauss firmly believes that initially, culture reflects the rhythm of the two worlds of people and things, and its nature is peaceful. People and the other in a broad sense (others and other things) are both separated and corresponding. Life is “naturally ordered” without the intervention of the “third party” who is the illusion of gods; and the appearance of gods transcending things and self in “more civilized” peoples has brought about a great change: culture itself The peaceful and generous identity of others is replaced by beliefs and behavior patterns that distinguish each other, and human beings have entered a stage that makes him “depressed”.
  Kilar insisted that although the earliest people could be said to be in pursuit of tranquility, the beliefs and customs of these people who were more qualitative than literary revealed the “desire to imitate” in human nature. A system that buys order within a community at the expense of a scapegoat.
  Kilar, like Lévi-Strauss, objected to the traditional explanation of sacrifice, but for different reasons. The “traditional” interpretation regards sacrifice as a gift of food nature offered by humans to the gods, and the gods are regarded as beings who “enjoy” these foods. Levi-Strauss is committed to restoring the properties of things, and opposes treating things as “delicious” things, and advocates treating them as words on which thoughts rely. Kilar also objected to equating sacrifice with food, but what he advocated was not a language-thinking science, but a “philosophy” aimed at exploring the violent nature of sacrifice and “enjoyment”. On this point Kilar says:
  Whenever a sacrifice achieves the desired effect, whenever a vicious violence is transformed into a benign stability, one may say that the god accepts the offering of this violence, that he feeds on it… The sacrifice gives the deity everything he needs to maintain and enhance his vitality. It is the deity himself who “digests” the inner nature of malignity in order to transform it into a benign transcendence, that is, into the deity’s own substance.
  In other words, “the essence of the gods themselves” is “violence that eats violence”, and the “state” reached by this kind of violence is that society turns chaos into order. In Girard’s view, as a ritual effect, this violent chaos is almost equivalent to social unity in Durkheim’s sense, but Durkheim “does not see how much violence constitutes an obstacle to the formation of human society. “, let alone understand that the primary function of religion, which he regards as the source of society or society itself, is to “remove the great obstacle that violence poses to the construction of any human society.”
  In the 1980s, Kilar published the book “Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World”, a sequel to “Sacrifice and Godhood”, which carried out an investigation of the Bible. Explain again. He said that although ritual provisions are found everywhere in the Old Testament, this “holy book” also records condemnations by certain prophets of the sacrificial content of rituals, which constitute a justification for the sacrifices and a condemnation of the ritual sacrifices. rejection. These prophets preached a subversive new conception of the divine, claiming that God disliked ritual violence and that he wanted no sacrifice but mercy. This new notion constitutes a sort of “scapegoat-victim perspective,” an effort to distinguish sanctity from violence. Kilar also pointed out that the New Testament promotes this subversive perspective more clearly than the Old Testament. It is full of “love” stories. These stories constitute the opposite of the mythical structure of traditional rituals. It is described as a “historical fact” that Jesus became an innocent scapegoat at a time of social crisis.
  Judeo-Christianity does have “anti-sacrifice” content, but it does not declare that the sacred does not require sacrifice, but only piety and compassion. Compared with certain Buddhist sects that include teachings such as non-killing and six realms of reincarnation, its “anti-sacrifice” The discourse is really a “re-creation” of the tradition of “replacing violence with violence”. From the “Old Testament”, a “civilization process” slowly unfolded, and finally, the “New Testament” subverted the violent psychological-social mechanism of human culture, making the violence of sacrificing scapegoats give way to violent religion Sexual rupture…Kirard finally lifted the veil put on the “sacrifice of the gods” by Mauss and Hubert, and embellished the “Bible” with unprecedented clear words, making it a “perfect theory” of anti-sacrifice . So far, Kilar’s civilized egocentrism is clearly revealed!

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