Our Degeneration in Language

Light of truth

I was struck by the content and style of the language employed by the social media of certain Catholic groups. Hate speech is widespread in the social media. There is a war being waged on others using words. Hate speech is particularly true about social media networks. The language in them humiliates us. As regards motivation of hate speech, many scholars have pointed out several factors, such as lack of tolerance, political clashes, discrimination, enmity and the openness of social media. Mimetic rivalry rampant in the consumer system is creating havoc to our culture. Rivalry and animosity get group formation to muster power and takes the form of caste and commune. Such communalisation is accelerating even among Catholic circles with petty difference and regional polarisations.

The real persons hide behind the ‘they’ of the crowd. You have communal formations that use crowds for their nefarious ends. The public sphere is being used for massification and atomization of the public by the media. Habermas conceived the public sphere as an arena where citizens have unrestricted access about matters of general interest, based on freedoms of assembly, association, expression and publication of opinions without undue economic and political control. In support of Habermas concept, it is argued that the social media gadgets provide amateurs with opportunity to contribute to their themes of interest, confront different opinions and find an audience.

In fact, personal and emotional hostility lets loose impoliteness in situations where it is considered appropriate. However, there are also many other broadly similar labels used in the literature on linguistic offence, including “rudeness,” “incivility,” “verbal aggression” and “face-aggravation” and the label “impoliteness” is used as a cover for these related labels, not least because the word “impoliteness” has very little currency and is thus ripe for appropriation as a technical term. Here are Christians involving themselves in hate and rivalry. The Gospels speak of skandalon. Jesus relates scandals to Satan when he rebukes Peter for reacting negatively to Jesus’ first prediction of the Passion.   

According to Girard, the Gospels always subvert talk of demons and Satan. Satan, as he functions in the Gospels, might be said to be mimetic desire incarnate, except for the fact that mimetic desire, by definition, is disincarnate. It eliminates the substance of all that it infects. The devil has no foundation and no being at all. Thus, he must live as a parasite on others. He is completely mimetic and thus —non existent as an individual self. The possessed subjects do not realize their situation, for they are controlled by mimetic contagion, within which there is no real subject. Satan is thus the prince of the world, but he has no real being.

Jesus calls the religious leaders sons of the devil. In speaking of the sons of the devil and the sons of God, He is speaking of a desire that is based upon imitation of either the devil or God. There is never anything but mimetism and crude rivalry. God and Satan are the supreme models. Their opposition is one between the model who never becomes an obstacle or rival because of a desire free from greed and competition and the model whose greed has immediate and terrible repercussions for all imitators. The most immediate and terrible consequences are not rivalry and violence, but metaphysical desire and the inability to form identity free from the manipulations and possessions of others who cannot have one‘s independent and beneficent growth as their sole motive.

Hate mongers have lost their Christian identity. Human identity is not of a tree, rooted in soil. It is an identity founded on the rock, that is Christ. One‘s desires are undistorted, so that one need no longer justify oneself over against any other. Those who live in the spirit do not derive their identity in any way at all from what others think, whether they praise or condemn, because the identity is purely given by the Lord. It is an identity of becoming related to everyone and everything. It is an identity made out of holiness and not of imitative rivalry.

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