Excerpt 1 from James Hillman's "A Blue Fire", Part 1Posted November 04 2012
In this transcribed excerpt recorded during a weekend seminar at Rowe Camp & Conference Center in Massachusetts, James Hillman -- one of the most influential voices of modern psychology -- reflects on hope versus optimism, observing versus engaging in life.
I have a little trouble with hope. I don’t want to take yours away from you, but I heard a lovely phrase today. To be optimistic without hope. It’s a sentence from Paul Valerie. It was a very nice phrase. That’s a hard one for the Christian mind. The idea of being hopeful, that isn’t quite what I meant in re-visioning psychology about pathology. That pathologizing… it isn’t… it doesn’t mean its going to get… it’s not hope. It is that it draws your interest. Actually, interest is more important than hope. Interest in what’s going on would be both a medical approach and a psychological approach. Do you follow me there at all? Does anybody want to add to that? That being interested is really the crucial thing.
What is going on in this so called pathological, this pathologizing? You’re interested in it and that attention is a devotion at the same time. Interest is inter-esse. There is a “between” us. There is a between going on. One is not detached but attached in a certain way. One is really interested in what is going on here. I’m not witnessing it. I’m really interested. [Undecipherable question from audience.] I would think so. See, the reason I have trouble with that model is that I don’t want to be cut off from my passion. I don’t want to be an observer. That’s no way to live. So it does damage to me to be put in the role of an observer. It cuts me off from my emotions. Connecting history to ideas. Not life to ideas or imagination to life but history to ideas. For ideas have history. They don’t walk in without any history.