August 13, 2016 Editor

Eat Me: The Cannibalistic Origins of the State

This an outstanding piece, especially in the writer’s powerful juxtaposition of Jesus’ invitation to a common meal of his “flesh and blood”,and our otherwise consuming each other in ongoing acts of mimetic rivalry.

However, I take serious note of this caveat:

Eat Me: The Cannabilistic Origins of State – David Gornoski – Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice

 Dear David,

I found your article, “Eat Me: The Cannabilistic Origins of the State” illuminating in some ways (worst views of the state) but somewhat simplistic in most ways.

Have you read much of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, More, Erasmus, Locke, Hobbes and many other political philosophers on the origins of the state? You will find, as you read them, a much more nuanced and subtle read of the origins of the state.

It’s best to sit with the best and learn from them—when this is done, our perspectives are raised to a higher level–political anarchism is a thin and questionable approach to substantive political thought and action.

Ron Dart

an excerpt:

Renounce the Violence

It starts with a meal. In sharing Jesus’s meal, we do not shed blood. We renounce all violence. We do not envy a Great Man who demands submission, but instead, imitate his own forgiveness and self-emptying love for others, even the ones who shame us.

Here again, Rene Girard is immensely helpful: “The commandment to imitate Jesus does not appear suddenly in a world exempt from imitation; rather it is addressed to everyone that mimetic rivalry has affected. Non-Christians imagine that to be converted they must renounce an autonomy that all people possess naturally, a freedom and independence that Jesus would like to take away from them. In reality, once we imitate Jesus, we discover that our aspiration to autonomy has always made us bow down before individuals who may not be worse than we are but who are nonetheless bad models because we cannot imitate them without falling with them into the trap of rivalries in which we are ensnarled more and more.”

We imitate Jesus by standing in solidarity with all victims of collective violence. We renounce our participation in every bit of it by refusing to vote for any more agents of collective violence. And we transform culture by modeling gratitude, not striving envy, to our neighbors. That’s a story worth remembering.

Let’s toast to that.

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.