Everything is alive

Hillman: Somehow we've got to see that "personal relationship" is a symptom of our culture. Read what the Muslims feel, what the tribal societies feel, what we know of antique culture, of Chinese culture today: they weren't hung up on romantic love, as we are, expecting all our sexual fantasies, and other fantasies, to be fulfilled by the person we sleep with. Why are we in our Western culture of the nineties, in the therapeutic culture of the white bread world, so hung up on the significant other for fulfillment?

Ventura
: You tell me, Doc. 'Cause we're just like everybody else, you and I, full of longing to have our sexual fantasies fulfilled - or at least serviced.

Hillman
: All right, I will tell you! My obsessive sexual fantasies, and yours, come straight from Descartes. Because Descartes, the good Jesuit-trained Christian that he was, declared to Western civilization that only human persons have souls. No soul anywhere else. And, since love always seeks soul, you've got to have a "significant other," as psychology calls it.

That's why we have those images on billboards, in the movies, on the tube, of hungry mouths kissing, the divinely perfect man and divinely perfect woman with lost soft eyes and luscious washed hair, flying into each other's arms, getting it on. Notice these couples are always isolated. On an empty beach, a sailboat, a private bathtub. No other voices. Just us.

... The only solution can come when the world is re-animated, when we recognize how alive everything is, and how desirable.

Maybe that's what consumerism and advertising are really all about, unconsciously, compulsively: a way to rekindle our desire for the world.

[James Hillman]
with Michael Ventura
We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy - And the World's Getting Worse, p.177, 178, 184

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