Feb 10, 2011

James Hillman Still Provoking Leftist Fashionistas

Throughout the early 90's I attended a number of seminars with James Hillman. Watching him work with symbols and dreams was a transcendent experience -- he was acutely sensitive to the needs of the dreamer, brilliant in his ability to parse obscure images and amazing in his talent for forming links between inner experiences and the culture that enveloped one. When he talked about the psychic underpinnings of popular culture, he was superlative in his ability to articulately parse subtleties. He pops into my head every time someone asks me who might be the wisest man I ever met. Got some recent email with an article about Hillman's critique of the left (to which he actually belongs).
It's clear everyday that the left and the right are in a marriage. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly talked obsessively about MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, and Olbermann talked obsessively about O'Reilly; they were locked in a marriage. And for all that the liberals want to mock Glenn Beck, he is talking about American history and political theory that the left neglects...Even MSNBC is "leaning forward." But I'd like to see it lean backward, which is what the word reflection means. What, for instance, is in the shadow of these fixed ideals? One thing that's being ignored is history. In a certain way, the liberal world has been lax about standing for true American history.
Sadly, I am reaching an age at which one is just delighted to learn that a man you admire is still kicking it, but he is the same provocative guy now that he was in his late 60's when I first met him. The link came shortly after I scanned a controversial book about the growing number of rich progressives who intend to channel their fortunes into the betterment of society. The book touches upon some of the same themes that Hillman raises. Prominent in these themes an implicit comparison made between a social reformer and a soldier: The progressive reformer who disrespects money is like a Marine who disrespects the rifle. Both of these warriors are condemned to failing to achieve their missions. The lesson here seems to be pretty straightforward: Forget the academic fashionistas who educate our kids to despise their middle-class roots. Unless our most altruistic young people learn how to arm themselves with the financial means to affect the balance of power, we're not going to get a better world.

No comments: