House of Strauss
House of Strauss
HoS Pod: Luke Burgis

HoS Pod: Luke Burgis

On Mimesis, Sports and Desire

HoS Pod welcomes Luke Burgis, author of the fascinating book Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life. I read it before our interview and can’t stop thinking about it. Not only is the book entertaining, but it gave me a different perspective on life. I can’t say that happens all too often.

Luke is also the proprietor of the Anti-Mimetic, which continues on his book’s pertinent themes. A Substack devoted to one book’s themes might sound constraining, but perhaps after you listen to the podcast, you’ll see how Luke’s focus happens to be endlessly generative.

Our conversation included, but was not limited to…

  • What is “mimetic desire”?

  • Why is understanding mimetic desire a skeleton key for understanding life?

  • Why Luke was researching professional sports (football specifically) for his book

  • To understand an athlete, you need to know what they desire

  • How the 1990s San Diego Chargers rejected the Denver Broncos imitative trap

  • How Steve Kerr used football coaching as a model for his basketball team

  • “I guess I believe in you more than you do,” as motivation

  • How similarity breeds rivalry more than difference does

  • What’s the most powerful mimesis engine: Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Instagram?

  • The “training wheels truth” that Twitter is an echo chamber isn’t totally true

  • The scapegoat as a deep human need

  • “Torches of Freedom,” a 1920s example of social justice capitalism