In this week’s podcast, we meet with Luke Burgis, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Director of Programs at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Catholic University of America. In his most recent book, “Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life,” he unpacks the influences that form our desires.

Inspired by the work of Rene Girard, Burgis connects the dots between the models of desire that we see in our daily lives and the desires that grow in our own hearts.

When we see a desire modeled by neighbors or coworkers or celebrities, we naturally, and often subconsciously, imitate and assimilate them as our own.

In our modern society of 24/7 connectivity, we are under the siege of “influencers” from social media, and our moral imagination seems doomed to constantly be in “assimilate and imitate” mode. Burgis calls these desires “thin desires” because they lack the deep, substantive roots in our true personal desires. Instead, we need the wisdom to turn off the barrage of desire-modelling so that we can tap into the true desires that God has placed on our hearts for the true purpose of our lives.

It’s important to understand the way mimetic desires work on our hearts, because they can lead us down very different paths in our lives. If we’re inattentive to its powerful gravitational pull, we run the risk of imitating the same desires of anyone and everyone in our lives, from wayward celebrities in our newsfeeds to well-heeled neighbors and their fancy new cars, vacations, or jobs. This is how we end up sidetracked down the roads of rivalry and envy. If we’re all vying for the same status, appearance, and trophies, it’s no wonder we tend to bear ill will towards those who seem to be more successful their pursuits.

Chasing the lifestyles and desires of others won’t ultimately satisfy us. We need to silence the mimetic noise, the clanging, chaotic call to chase the same fleet-footed white rabbit. Turn off the TV. Sign out of social media. Stop peeking over your neighbor’s fence.

“The idea of a personal vocation is the antidote to mimetic desire. To paraphrase the words of JPII, ‘Everybody has a deep desire to become who they are. Become who you are. Become who you were created to be.’ If you don't have a good idea of your personal vocation, you're very susceptible to latching onto thin, highly mimetic desires. Everything looks like a shiny object if you're not firmly grounded in an idea of vocation.”

We need to awaken to the reality of our own personal callings right in front of us. Look to your own life, your own gifts, your own heart. What is God saying to you there? What openings, what dreams, what ideas has He planted for you, and only you, to make a reality?

Tune into this week’s episode to hear more about how our heart’s desires can be the key to unlocking our destiny within God’s plan.

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