Archive for October 29th, 2011

Renegade Psychologist

“Here I am working toward a psychology of soul that is based in a psychology of image. Here I am suggesting both a poetic basis of mind and a psychology that starts neither in the physiology of the brain, the structure of language, the organization of society, nor the analysis of behavior, but in the processes of imagination”

James Hillman

The world has lost a very soulful man. Today we find ourselves with less soul. James Hillman has left this world, a world where he spent much of his life exploring soul. His passing saddens me for his works have had a profound influence on my life. He opened me to looking at the world in a different way. Soul for Hillman was more of a process than a thing. Living a soulful life means looking below the surfaces into the deep interiority of matter and spirit. Living a soulful life invites us to experience reverie, a reverie sustained and fructified by imagination. James Hillman awakened us to an old way of life forgotten in this all too modern world, a richer way of experiencing life. Hillman brought us back to the essence of Jung: Stick to the image!

James Hillman accomplished these awakenings by reminding us how important it is to invite the arts and humanities back into psychology. His love of culture, especially Greek and Renaissance, reopened doors of experience that had been closed to psychology for centuries. He constantly reminded us of the importance of soul in life. He was also a social conscience in a world gone mad. He reminded psychologists that the world outside of the consulting room is far more important than therapists would like to believe. I am indebted to his invoking the image of the Anima Mundi in describing how important our outer world is for living a full life.

I last saw James Hillman at the International Association for Analytical Psychology conference in Montreal last year. He was as feisty as ever, encouraging everyone to have a good fight! I remember seeing him on the dance floor on the final night of the conference. He was having a great time, Dionysus reborn. Let us all continue the soulful dance that he brought into our worlds.

Let us give the final words to James Hillman…

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