The Romantic Lie

This is the idea that you solely control what you desire. In reality, your desires are deeply influenced by the people and the culture around you. You are not the sole decider of the things you want, no matter how much you belief otherwise.

This appears to come from the work of René Girard, who was a French scholar. He first coined the term “romantic lie” in a 1961 book.

More recently, the term was refreshed in the book Wanting: The Power of Memetic Desire in Everyday Life, published in 2021. That book was an extension to Girard’s work, and an attempt to bring it to contemporary audiences.

If you search for the term, most all results are since the book published.

Why I Looked It Up

I read Wanting (see above). The term was used as if it had a life prior to the book, so I wanted to see what resources were available for it.

In truth, not much. Again, most all searching simply pointed me back to that same book.

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