For thousands of years, political leaders have unified communities by aligning them against common enemies. However, today more than ever, the search for "common" enemies results in anything but unanimity. Scapegoats like Saddam Hussein, for example, led to a stark polarization in the United States. Renowned neuropsychiatrist and psychologist Jean-Michel Oughourlian proposes that the only authentic enemy is the one responsible for both everyday frustrations and global dangers, such as climate change-ourselves. Oughourlian, who pioneered an "interdividual" psychology with René Girard, reveals how all people are bound together in a dynamic, contingent process of imitation, and shows that the same patterns of irrational mimetic desire that bring individuals together and push them apart also explain the behavior of nations.
Subjects: Philosophy, Religion, Psychology