Last November, Paul presented an overview of the thought of René Girard. Tonight, we revisit Girard’s theory of mimesis, mimetic desire, metaphysical desire, and the centrality of violence and scapegoating in human cultures. Taking up these themes, we will engage Jung’s theory of instinct and archetypes along with Jean Gebser’s description of archaic, magic, and mythic modes of consciousness. Each of these thinkers is deeply concerned about the suicidal tendency of human beings, and all three refer to the spiritual, or saving grace, in specifically Christian forms.
There has been a shift in emphasis in contemporary analytic theory from the mind of the analysand, and the analyst, to what goes on between them. The term that best represents the notion of ‘in between’ is the field. There is an echo of an older use of the term in physics. The physical field was invented to bridge an antimony concerning the source of movement, or change: is it material, or immaterial? When bodies attract, as in gravity, or magnetism, is there action at a distance, or is the space between them completely filled with matter that conveys the force? In early modern Europe, action at a distance was rejected as associated with an older, magical world view. The perspective that was lost was that of an anima mundi, with cosmos mirroring psyche.