Posts Tagged ‘james hillman’

Quote of the day: CREATIVITY

October 1, 2021


Creativity is conceived as a reproductive act with a tangible result — a child, a book, a monument — that has a physical life going beyond the life of its producer. Creativity, however, can be intangible in the form of a good life, or a beautiful act, or in other virtues of the soul such as freedom and openness, style and tact, humor, kindness.

– James Hillman

illustration by Jason Stout

Quote of the day: BOOKS

March 8, 2015


Books can be mentors, even providing a moment of initiation. R.D. Laing, writer, philosopher, and revolutionary psychiatrist, tells of this discovery in a small public library, while he was still an adolescent in the 1940s. He came upon Kierkegaard while

eating my way through the library. I mean I was looking at all the books…working my way from A to Z…The first major thing of Kierkegaard that I read…was one of the peak experiences of my life. I read that through, without sleeping, over a period of about 34 hours just continually….I’d never seen any reference to him…that directed me to it. It was just this complete vista…It just absolutely fitted my mind like a glove…here was a guy who had done it. I felt somehow or another within me, the flowering of one’s life.

This moment of initiation is also like a ritual of adoption. Kierkegaard – along with Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche – became one of Laing’s spiritual parents, a member of the family tree that nourished his acorn and fed his intellectual fantasy. You expect less from your natural parents, and they become easier to bear once you have discovered the other family tree on which the life of your soul depends.

–James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

Quote of the day: EFFICIENCY

May 5, 2014


Two insanely dangerous consequences result from raising efficiency to the level of an independent principle. First, it favors short-term thinking – no looking ahead, down the line; and it produces insensitive feeling – no looking around at the life values being lived so efficiently. Second, means become ends; that is, doing something becomes the full justification of doing regardless of what you do. Operational phrases in business life such as “just do it,” “get it done,” “don’t ask questions,” “not excuses, results!” are telltale signs of the efficiency principle beginning to separate from its cohorts and set off on its own.

The ethical confusions now plaguing business, government, and the professions, although having many varied sources, result in part from the pressures of efficiency as a value in and for itself. Then, curiously, Aristotle’s other principles seem to return from repressive exclusion only to sabotage efficiency. Inefficiency becomes a favorite mode of rebellion against the tyranny of efficiency: slowdown, work-to-rule, buck-passing, absenteeism, delayed responses, mislaid documents, unreturned phone calls. Ethical protest against the tyranny of efficiency employ these modes of inefficiency. It is as if in the name of being a good citizen with concern for the wider implications of a job, one must become a “bad” worker.

— James Hillman, Kinds of Power

kinds of power

Quote of the day: IDEAS

April 28, 2014


For ideas to be born and stay alive through their precarious infancy they must be welcomed warmly so that their native power can come fully to mind. Skepticism and irony don’t belong at the start. At first, better the wacky and the weird than ideas whittled down to fit preconceived slots. Here we need courage to face their destructive force, for ideas also can lay waste cherished habits of mind. We now call this destruction of old ideas, politely, a “paradigm shift.” “Catastrophe theory” would be more appropriate. The vitality of a culture depends less on its hopes and its history than on its capacity to entertain willingly the divine and daimonic force of ideas.

— James Hillman, Kinds of Power


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