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Dec 16, 2022

In this episode I speak with Jonathan Bi about the ideas of Rene Girard, social pressure, authentic and false desires, victims and scapegoats, persecution, and Girardian theories on imitation and violence. We also discuss how Girard’s work sheds light on woke capitalism, right and left totalitarianism, Max Scheler, Hannah Arendt, Alexis de Tocqueville, and more. We discuss many themes including:

  • Christianity and Girard’s theory and the secularization and falsification of Christian values such as how humanitarianism and pacificism replace charity and peace and justice and more.

  • Evangelical Counsels and The Rule of St. Benedict as a response to metaphysical desire

  • Different views of the problem of evil: Hegel, Rousseau, Ratzinger, Solzhenitsyn, Girard

  • Human Perfectibility and Utopianism

  • Hope and Progress

  • Benedict XVI Spe Salvi

  • On the goodness of being in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and St. Augustine.

  • There is no technical solution to the problems of evil, suffering, of death

  • Embedded complexity, the dignity of labor, linear time, and how we live in a Christian civilization

  • Girard’s explanation of how scapegoating others for their behavior reveals that we too would be guilty — and why it is folly to think with confidence that we would not go along with the crowd if we lived under the Nazis or a slaveholding society

We begin a discussion on the atonement, Girard’s views and how to think about sacrifice — that we’ll have to finish in more detail

We also have a discussion about Christianity and Buddhism and religious belief. I hope you enjoy.


Jonathan Bi is an entrepreneur working on a startup in FinTech and a philosopher focusing on Buddhist philosophy, Continental philosophy, and specifically the work of Rene Girard. Among his many projects he and David Perell have created a seven session video course on the ideas of Rene Girard. Originally from China, Jonathan also grew up in Canada, and studied computer science at Columbia.



Jonathan Bi and David Perell Lectures on Girard

On the Atonement — we just got into this briefly, but didn’t have enough time or preparation to address it sufficiently. I am going to have another episode on the atonement, and also on Girard and the atonement, but here are two links to Catholic resources view of the atonement

 New Advent

Catholic Catechism