Opposites Attract, Like Repels: The Metaphor of the Field in Electromagnetism and Analysis—with Peter Holland, MD

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.

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