Luke Burgis has co-created and led four companies in wellness, consumer products, and technology. He’s currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Director of Programs at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship where he also teaches business at The Catholic University of America. Luke has helped form and serves on the board of several new K-12 education initiatives and writes and speaks regularly about the education of desire. He studied business at NYU Stern and philosophy and theology at a pontifical university in Rome. He’s Managing Partner of Fourth Wall Ventures, an incubator that he started to build, train, and invest in people and companies that contribute to a healthy human ecology.

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  • René Girard, called the “Darwin of the social sciences,” discovered that humans don’t desire anything individually, entirely on their own, but mimetically—they imitate the desires of others, which causes them to pursue people, places, and things, even their very identity, based on what other people model as desirable.
  • Drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur, teacher, and student of classical philosophy and theology, Burgis shares tactics for counteracting the destructive forces of mimetic desire. We can turn blind wanting into intentional wanting―not by trying to rid ourselves of desire, but by desiring differently.
  • In the summer of 2008, the late Tony Hsieh, then CEO of Zappos was going to acquire Luke’s e-commerce business… They were in Las Vegas. Tony DM’d Luke to meet him at the Foundation Room, a bar on the 63rd level of the Mandalay Bay…
  • Mimetic Desire (Ed Norton character in The Italian Job? “Uh I don’t know, I like all the things you guys said”)
  • Another life-changing moment… Luke was sitting in the home of Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal, first money into Facebook).
  • Luke’s early 20’s — Spent starting companies, chasing the entrepreneurial dream… He thought he was searching for financial freedom and the recognition and respect that would come from that… Then something odd happened.
  • Luke helps us understand the forces that shape how we come to want certain things—from degrees to career goals to body images—and extract ourselves from the systems of desire that leave us exhausted.
  • He makes sense of the historical processes that have led to cycles of recurring violence in every culture, and what these have to do with crises of desire.
  • Thin versus Thick desires — Sift through the noise of consumer culture which bombards us with thin desires—fleeting and weak—to identify their thick desires: those that are meaningful and enduring.
  • “What gravity is to physics, mimetic desire is to psychology.”
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