Excerpt 1 from James Hillman's "A Blue Fire", Part 2
The late James Hillman -- one of the foremost scholars in Jungian theory and thinking -- discusses the true nature of longing in this transcribed excerpt from his weekend seminar based on his book, A Blue Fire.
Realizing you are a creature of longing, the romantic said, “Tell me what you long for and I will tell you who you are.” Tremendous sentence. We say, “What do you do?” And you fill out your Social Security form, you know? Or your tax thing. Tell me what you long for and I will tell you who you are. They made a great deal of sehnsucht. That kind of nostalgia. I don’t know what other word to use for it. Longing. And it’s more than the desire that the French are using that is jouissance desire. I think it’s something much more than that.
You mull, you weep, you call somebody on the phone, and you make a note. You turn it over. It’s like mulling. You do what everyone else does. You see, you’re thinking literally about “how do I make soap”. Like, give me the recipe. And that isn’t the point. The point is to have the fantasy that what you’re doing makes soap. [talking in background] No, I didn’t say that either. No, you still want a literal instruction. You’re still asking me concretely how. Now, that is an American problem, the how thing. As a guy said the other day on TV, Americans are great at means and not very good at ends. In other words, we know how to do all kinds of things. We know how to multiply information endlessly but we have no idea why all of this information, what the point of it is, and no criticism about it or anything else. We know how to do everything and we ask always how. We are geniuses at application like the Japanese are geniuses at miniaturization. You know, the Chinese invented the fan. That Japanese invented how to fold it.