Visualizing Mimesis: The Collection

Jack Butcher
Jack Butcher
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June 1st, 2021

Words: Luke Burgis, author of Wanting, out today.

Memes are stuff. Mimetic desire is movement.

On January 25, 2021, $GME looked like 4 meaningless characters on a screen.

On January 26, 2021: a movement of 92.71%.

$GME meant something.

It represented the desires of thousands, then millions. Behind the stock ticker were people looking to other people, wanting what other people wanted.

Desires aren’t static; they’re mimetic. They rise and fall on the strength of others’ desires.

The memes are just along for the ride. The memes are code—short-hand—for the desires.

The price of memes are a signal. And the signal that they’re sending is this: people want what other people want.

Down to the nth circle of hell, or to the moon.

We’re wanting.

The Identity Flippening is happening: identities are being shaped more online than offline.

Because we’re mimetic, each of us is a mirror to other people just as they are for us. We see ourselves in relationships. Including digital ones. 0’s and 1’s.

In this ethereal, Ethereum-fueled new space, the mirrors look differently than they did in school.

They’re digital and they’re dark.

We can look through this glass, darkly, and see whatever we want to see; whatever the wanted wants us to see; whatever the wanter wants us to be.

That’s a threat. It’s also an opportunity.

Let the digital modeling of desire begin.

Value isn’t in the eye of the beholder; it’s in the eyes of the other beholders beholding me beholding, and wondering why.

Value isn’t subjective; it’s inter-subjective. It’s generated in the space between people.

It’s me looking at you looking at me looking at a $12 million stuffed shark and wondering why not 13.

The scene-setting that Sotheby’s and Christie’s do—the valet service, black ties and mimetic martinis—only work through the organ of the eyes.

There’s an inner eye, though, that works in our new digital auction houses. It sees everything. It feels everything. It has no need for bright lights or the sound of the gavel.

It might seem unclear who the auctioneer is in this space, but I’ll tell you who, or what, it is: mimetic desire.

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