The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things. In fact it seems to me as if that alienation which so long separated me from the world has become transferred into my own inner world, and has revealed to me an unexpected unfamiliarity with myself.
Honoring The Late James Hillman
Why is there such a vast self-help industry in this country? Why do all these selves need help? They have been deprived of something by our psychological culture. They have been deprived of the sense that there is something else in life, some purpose that has come with them into the world.
I was wrong. Ismail did, in fact, have powerful connections to the band, connections called “Africa” and “exile.” He understood what I’d failed to grasp: that when he led Aliya up the narrow stairs of the tour bus, he was leading her back to the deserts of North Africa, where those who have been driven from their homes recognize the longing in one another’s eyes, where unexpected guests are treated like nobility and children like family.
My grandmother always said that if she ever lost her mind, I should put a pillow over her head — meaning she wanted me to press a pillow against her face until she suffocated, thus sparing her whatever indignities she imagined people who lost their minds were forced to endure.
All of which is to say: James Hillman loved and embodied paradox — not only the play of opposites but also the effluvia that attach to the play of opposites. For James nothing was quite as it seems, except in those highly improbable moments when things are exactly as they seem. (He would have insisted on that exception.)