The late James Hillman -- considered the father of Archtypal Psychology based on the work of Carl Jung -- gives us a glimpse into his thinking when talkng about the relationship between egocentricity, excess and eccentricity in this transcribed excerpt from a fascinating weekend seminar Hillman offered at the Rowe Camp & Conference Center.
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That’s metaphysics and philosophy and has to do with a worldview. I prefer to stay in this other realm, which is just the pragmatics of living with imagination. Let’s stay with this business of working with the images. And the fear… you see, there’s a fear. There’s a fear about those ants. There’s a fear of the power of the image. One of the reasons we don’t like the, you know… I’m not in animal rights… is we’re afraid. What happens if they all had rights? You know, we’re afraid of releasing the humanistic egocentricity. And that fear had given a negative cast to the dreams -- they have to be interpreted because, you know, there’s muck and there’s slime and there’s dirt and there’s danger and there’s psychosis and suicide and depression, and all those terms are used about the imagination that if we give over to it, we will be destroyed. We will be destroyed! The egocentric attitude will be weakened, yes. [talking in background] Control, yeah. Big word, except it’s used now more nicely, deal with, and cope, which means control, which means still holding the wheel in your hand.
[talking in background)] There was something that you said just before that. Before the idea of patient, what was it? Oh, eccentricity. Yeah, let’s just go back to that for a minute. I have to put that thing about acceptance aside for a minute because that tends to rub me sometimes into a kind of fear of new Christianizing. So let’s put that one aside for a second. But eccentricity ties in with also the way I was working last night. The excessive one-sidedness. And when I work that way, polemically, excessively, one-sidedly, I usually constellate in other people a kind of being balanced and moderate and putting it together and getting it right and all of that. And my point, I’m coming to believe in this excessive way of presenting things, is that there is a relation between excess and eccentricity.
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