Synopses & Reviews
Plato and the Greeks called it "daimon," the Romans "genius," the Christians "guardian angel"; today we use terms such as "heart," "spirit," and "soul." For James Hillman it is the central and guiding force of his utterly unique and compelling "acorn theory," which proposes that each life is formed by a particular image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny, just as the mighty oak's destiny is written in the tiny acorn. It is a theory that offers a liberating vision of childhood troubles and an exciting approach to themes such as fate and fatalism, character and desire, family influence and freedom, and, most of all, calling - that invisible mystery at the center of every life that speaks to the fundamental question "What is it, in my heart, that I must do, be, and have? And why?" The Soul's Code dedicates itself to what is truly innate, not to how it got this way or where it's going. Hillman does not see human beings as results or, worse, victims of their lives, nor does the promise or even seek a "cure"; instead he welcomes the necessity of every aspect of what makes up a life and advocates using "symptoms" as clues to what the daimon demands. Essentially, Hillman believes that there is more to life - to each individual - than can be explained by the traditional "either/or" categories of genetics and environment. His method is to use the extraordinary (an extensive array of examples from Yehudi Menuhin to Jeffrey Dahmer) as a way to inspire the ordinary, as well as urging his readers to reexamine their childhood impulses, fantasies, thoughts, and even accidents, all of which reflect the "blueprints" that give direction to the course of a biography.
Some call it" genius". Others have named it "spirit", "daimon", and even "guardian angel". But while philosophers and psychologists from Plato to Jung emphasized the fundamental essence of our individuality, our modern culture refuses to accept that a unique, formed soul is within us from birth, shaping as much as it is shaped.
Now in this extraordinary bestseller, James Hillman presents a brilliant new vision of our selves not defined by family relationships or the mentality of victimization. Drawing on the biographies of such disparate people as Ella Fitzgerald and Mohandas K. Gandhi, James Hillman argues that character is fate and shows how the soul, if given the opportunity, can assert itself even at an early age. The result is a reasoned and powerful road map to understanding our true nature and discovering an eye-opening array of choices -- from the way we raise our children to our career paths to our social and personal commitments to achieving excellence in our time.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -320) and index.