“Freud turns to discussion of something that crops up under a variety of names, such as ‘suggestion’, ‘imitation,’ ‘prestige of leaders’, ‘contagion’. I have used ‘valency’ partly because I would avoid the meanings that already adhere to the terms I have listed, partly because the term ‘valency,’ as used in physics to denote the power of combination of atoms, carries with it the greatest penumbra of suggestiveness useful for my purpose. By it I mean the capacity of the individual for instantaneous combination with other individuals in an established pattern of behavior–the basic assumptions”
Bion, W R: Experiences in Groups (1961)
” “I’ve decided that mixing is a key term. It’s better than suggestion, which is one-sided. It explains what people rarely talk about, because we define ourselves as isolated, closed bodies who bump up against each other but stay shut. Descartes was wrong. It isn’t: I think, therefore I am. It’s: I am because you are. That’s Hegel – well, the short version.”
“A little too short,” I said.
Violet flapped her hand dismissively. “What matters is that we’re always mixing with other people. Sometimes it’s normal and good, and sometimes it’s dangerous. The piano lesson is just an obvious example of what feels dangerous to me. Bill mixes in his paintings. Writers do it in books. We do it all the time…” “.
Hustvedt, S: What I Loved (2003)