A Black Friday Q & R: A Bleak Future?

Here’s the Q:

I have loved reading about Rene Girard’s mimetic theory in your recent book. I think the idea that we are all caught up in systems of intense rivalry and scapegoating is very enlightening and resonates very much with the training I received to become a counsellor.
The more I read about the theory, the more sense it makes. The only thing is, I am starting to feel troubled! Girard seems to predict a bleak future where we will be consumed by our violence. Is God just waiting for us to self destruct? This depresses me!
Other voices seem to suggest our violence has markedly declined in recent times (Stephen Pinker’s book ‘The Better Angles of Our Nature’ for example). Perhaps Girard might argue this is merely the calm before the storm and in fact decreased ways to discharge our violence will ultimately lead to an explosion of it.
Then I look around my small corner of the world and I see abundant examples of good, evil and indifference in myself and others on a daily basis- but the good is definitely there. So I am confused.
I would love to hear your own personal take on this.

Here’s the R:
You’re right – in Girard’s last few works, you can trace a growing sense of impending doom, about which two things need to be said.
1. Anyone who looks at current global crises (as I try to do in Everything Must Change) – and isn’t deeply concerned – hasn’t really faced the data.
2. Girard’s sense of foreboding is intensified by insights from his theory, insights which suggest that humanity must make a choice between seeking to overcome human violence by violence and seeking to overcome human violence by peace. When weapons become increasingly catastrophic and increasingly available, and when religious communities don’t seem to offer much in the way of peace-making formation and training, there is ample reason to be concerned.
Here is where faith comes in … not faith that the problems will magically go away (which is childish faith) – but faith that we will seek to do the right thing with courage and resilience no matter what (which is mature faith). For Girard, doing the right thing meant warning us about the futility of our current path … and if his “doing the right thing” works, the rest of us will do different things: clarifying, improving, and intensifying our efforts for “Tikkun Olam” AKA the dream or reign or commonwealth of God.
On this “Black Friday,” we’ll see how effectively our culture subverts Thanksgiving (which is an antidote to greed) with a baptism in greed, as if “to live is to shop and consume.” That subversion can easily depress us, even paralyze us … but if we allow ourselves to be paralyzed and depressed, we in a sense become part of the problem rather than the solution.
People who believe in incarnation and resurrection have resources to face insurmountable, “impossible” odds. Which is why Advent can subvert the subversion of Black Friday … if we dare to believe.
On a practical level, this is why I’ve invested a lot this year in supporting emerging initiatives like Mesa and Cana. I hope others will join me in these and other good ventures at this critical time. To borrow the language of Black Friday, our future is “on sale” at the moment. If we don’t invest in it now, the cost to save it will be much higher the longer we wait.