In attempting to assess the impact of mimetic desire on the development of culture and social institutions in his two major works published during the 1970s, Violence and the Sacred (1972) and Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World (1978), Girard is obliged to confront one major problem at the outset: the destructive potential of mimetic desire. If imitation of others leads inevitably to rivalry and conflict, and if all humans act mimetically, then humanity as a whole would appear to be doomed to an endless cycle of competition and violence. Human survival and the genesis and development of culture are difficult to conceive under these conditions.