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Also Human, Caroline Elton

To Create At secondary school I was taught the first law of thermodynamics. This law states that the energy within a system cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be transformed from one form to another. It strikes me that this basic law of physics has a psychic parallel. Perhaps it should be known as the first law of human dynamics? And just as the physical law demonstrates that the energy in a system cannot change but can only be transferred, the psychic law reminds us that a person’s ability to carry out emotional work—to care for somebody else in distress—critically depends upon the quality of care that that person has themself received. It’s almost as if the potential for giving care to others rests on a form of “caring capital” that a person has accrued in the past. And currently. If a person feels uncared for, emotionally depleted, they will struggle (in some way or other) to carry the emotional burden of another person’s suffering. They will struggle to care.

To Create