A person in light of the “culture of violence”. An attempt to compare the concepts of René Girard and Emmanuel Lévinas
The paper is concerned with the issue of the connection of human nature to violence in culture, based on the analyses of two French philosophers, R. Girard and E. Lévinas. In their interpretations, violence is an inherent aspect of culture, which raises the question of what these thinkers actually regard as its underlying causes? The answer to this question involves the idea of human being who resorts to violence in his/her relations to others on the individual and social level. Identifying subjective traits as a source of violence leads to another question essential in this context: how, if at all, is it feasible to break out from the “vicious circle” of violence in culture? An affr mativeanswertothisquestionispossi bleonlyafter indicating how subjective attitudes have to evolve in order to breed the “culture of peace”, instead of violence. Overcoming the “culture of violence” requires opening up the “warring subject” to Truth and Good, characteristic for the “messianic subject”, for only the latter is able, through superhuman efforts, to resist the culture-determined imperative of reprisal and violence.