In his latest contribution to mimetic studies, Violence and the Oedipal Unconscious (MSU P, 2023), Nidesh Lawtoo reframes current debates on (new) media violence by tracing the philosophical, aesthetic, and historical vicissitudes of the “catharsis hypothesis” from antiquity to modernity into the present via Aristotle, Nietzsche, Bernays, Freud, Girard, Morin among others. In the process, he outlines a new theory of violence, mimesis, and the unconscious that does not have desire as a via regia, but rather, the untimely realization that all affects spread contagiously and thus mimetically.
In the eighth episode of HOM Videos, the philosopher and historian of psychoanalysis Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen (University of Washington) discusses with Nidesh Lawtoo the genealogical foundations of psychic mimesis: from his studies at the University of Strasbourg with Lacoue-Labarthe to the birth of psychoanalysis (out of Charcot’s and Bernheim’s theories of hysteria and suggestion), from Freud’s account of identification to Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage to Big Pharma, mimesis turns out to play the leading protean role in the modern and contemporary pathologies of homo mimeticus.
How could a mimetic crowd go so easily from a conspiracy theory to a (new) fascist insurrection? In this piece for TCC Nidesh Lawtoo argues that what is surprising is not that the crowd hit the U.S. Capitol like a wave, but that no one in power saw this announced wave coming. If it is still unclear how (hyper)mimesis goes from conspiracy theory to (new) fascist actions, find out more here. Versione intervista in italiano per il CdT (con Carlo Silini): L’Assalto al Campidoglio.For related events on the importance to counter (new) fascism see also, Settima Lettera on Freud, Fascism, & Myth (March-June 2021); New Fascism & the Mimetic Unconscious (KU Leuven, Marc 24 ) New Fascisms, New Resistances (U Beragmo, 22-23 April)