April 10, 2006
After reading a selection from The Girard reader, I was left questioning whether triangular desire is
good. I accept, allow, approve and welcome this investigation because I think it is a valuable and complex
The goal of triangular desire is confusion. This may seem to be a strange goal, one that would argue
against triangular desire being “good,” however the most meaningful things in life often leave one
perplexed and awe struck.
The actions and emotions involved in triangular desire are imitation, fascination, admiration and
inferiority. The individual admires their model; they are fascinated with them. They begin to imitate their
model, yet continue to feel inferior since they can never fully become this person.
The principal agent responsible for triangular desire is the model. An individual admires varying
aspects of the model. The individual then begins to mimic those qualities he/she admires. They think that
they hate the model, but in reality hate themselves for not living up to the standards of the model.
The preparing agent in triangular desire is the disciple or victim: the individual imitating the model.
The thing assisting the principal agent is logic. The model must use logic in order to understand the
triangle. Once he understands the triangle, he will realize why his disciple acts the way he does. He will
understand that his disciple’s actions are driven by envy.
The tools that the model uses are appearance, gesture, ambition and love. These are the qualities that
the disciple or victim admires and desires to imitate. For example, the disciple or victim envies the way
they look, the way they dress, the way they walk or play a sport, the way they fulfill their goals, take action
or the way they love others. Great writes such as Nietzsche, Cervantes, and Sheller all speak of and
support the theory of triangular desire.
One can witness triangular desire in everyday life. It happens in our families, among our friends, and in
our romantic relationships. For example, if Mary liked Joe, but Joe didn’t like Mary, Mary would start to
date John because John is Joe’s model. Joe would then begin to like Mary because his model, John, does.
Since he desires to be like his model, and is envious of him, he will try to win Mary for himself.
The envy involved in triangular desire is like poison. It paralyzes our rationale and takes complete
control of our body and mind. It slowly eats away at us until we meet ultimate destruction
There are many signs that would indicate an individual is involved in triangular desire. Some of these
signs are vanity, complaining, and arguments over who “liked it first.”
There are many instances from the past in which triangular desire could be observed. Many assassins
kill their victims because of triangular desire. They envy their victims and know they can never live up to
their standards. They decide to kill them to help rid themselves of their envy. Some examples are the
assassinations of the Lord, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln.
The motive that propels the triangle is impulse. Being a part of the triangle is a natural compulsion.
The passions involved in the triangle are desire, hate and fear. Disciples desire to be like their models.
They hate their model for having some characteristic they themselves don’t possess. They fear that they
will never be like their model and will always suffer from envy.
Triangular desire is present 100 percent of the time and affects 100 percent of the population.
Two of my favorite reasons are because it is complex and is natural. Triangular desire is good because
it is complex and natural.
Everything that is complex and natural is good. Triangular desire is complex and natural. Triangular
desire is good.
There are many objections one can make to the idea that triangular desire is good. I will now
personally address three I feel to be strong objections. One can argue that the triangle removes freedom.
Jesus calls us to follow and imitate Him, yet we still maintain our own free will. Another objection is that
the triangle removes personal desire. I would respond to this by saying that we still have strong desires
and if we have a positive model it will help us to perfect and better our own desires. Lastly, one may argue
that triangular desire is negative and destructive. To this I would say that triangular desire must be
positive since the Lord promotes it, children do it, and it opens us up to new people.