Mimetic Theory & Competition

I first leaned the concept of mimetic theory from Peter Thiel. I’ve been a little obsessed with the idea ever since.

Basically, conflict arises when we all want the same things. Why do we all want the same things? It seems to go back to early in our evolutionary history. We learned by copying others.

Mimicking is how we learned language. It’s how we learned culture. We copy our parents and the people around us. Imitation is endemic to the human experience.

We’re all trying to do the same thing; this leads to competition. It’s a strange way of validating our existence.You don’t know what you want, so you look to what others are doing. Everybody ends up copying everyone else.

Peter points to our education system as an illustration of the concept. From K through 12 we’re all in ferocious competition for the same slots at the same few elite universities.

This competition manifests itself in nearly all areas of our lives. That “thing” you’re chasing, is it what you really want; or are you simply copying others?



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