James Hillman quotes

  • We can't change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently.
    -- James Hillman

    #Ideas #Things Change

  • Anytime you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna lose something. You’re losing what you’re hanging onto to keep safe. You’re losing habits that you’re comfortable with, you’re losing familiarity.
    -- James Hillman

    #Safe #Losing #Habit

  • Aging is no accident. It is necessary to the human condition, intended by the soul. We become more characteristic of who we are simply by lasting into later years; the older we become, the more our true natures emerge. Thus the final years have a very important purpose: the fulfillment and confirmation of one’s character.
    -- James Hillman

    #Character #Years #Soul

  • Of course, a culture as manically and massively materialistic as ours creates materialistic behavior in its people, especially in those people who've been subjected to nothing but the destruction of imagination that this culture calls education, the destruction of autonomy it calls work, and the destruction of activity it calls entertainment.
    -- James Hillman

    #People #Imagination #Entertainment

  • Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind's been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.
    -- James Hillman

    #Eye #Reflection #Talking

  • Our lives are determined less by our childhood than by the traumatic way we have learned to remember our childhoods.
    -- James Hillman

    #Childhood #Way #Determined

  • Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path... this is what I must do, this is what I've got to have. This is who I am.
    -- James Hillman

    #Who I Am #Path #Sooner Or Later

  • The gift of an image is that it provides a place to watch your soul.
    -- James Hillman

    #Soul #Watches #Rewards

  • Love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.
    -- James Hillman

    #Love #Imagination #Boredom

  • To hope for nothing, to expect nothing, to demand nothing. This is analytical despair.
    -- James Hillman

    #Despair #Demand #Expect Nothing

  • It's important to ask yourself, How am I useful to others? What do people want from me? That may very well reveal what you are here for.
    -- James Hillman

    #Letting Go #People #Important

  • If there were a god of New York, it would be the Greek's Hermes, the Roman's Mercury. He embodies New York qualities: the quick exchange, the fastness of language and style, craftiness, the mixing of people and crossing of borders, imagination.
    -- James Hillman

    #New York #Imagination #People

  • Why do we focus so intensely on our problems? What draws us to them? Why are they so attractive? They have the magnet power of love: somehow we desire our problems; we are in love with them much as we want to get rid of them . . . Problems sustain us -- maybe that's why they don't go away. What would a life be without them? Completely tranquilized and loveless . . . There is a secret love hiding in each problem
    -- James Hillman

    #Secret Love #Focus #Going Away

  • Our life is psychological, and the purpose of life is to make psyche of it, to find connections between life and soul.
    -- James Hillman

    #Soul #Connections #Purpose

  • You know, people come to therapy really for a blessing. Not so much to fix what's broken, but to get what's broken blessed.
    -- James Hillman

    #Blessed #Blessing #People

  • Too many people have been analyzing their pasts, their childhoods, their memories, their parents, and realizing that it doesn't do anything-or that it doesn't do enough.
    -- James Hillman

    #Memories #Past #People

  • Without time for loss you don't have time for soul.
    -- James Hillman

    #Time #Loss #Soul

  • Character forms a life regardless of how obscurely that life is lived and how little light falls on it from the stars.
    -- James Hillman

    #Stars #Fall #Character

  • Psychology is ultimately mythology, the study of the stories of the soul.
    -- James Hillman

    #Psychology #Soul #Stories

  • Psychology, so dedicated to awakening human consciousness, needs to wake itself up to one of the most ancient human truths: we cannot be studied or cured apart from the planet.
    -- James Hillman

    #Psychology #Needs #Awakening

  • I can no longer be sure whether the psyche is in me or whether I'm in the psyche...
    -- James Hillman

  • I think we're miserable partly because we have only one god, and that's economics.
    -- James Hillman

    #Thinking #Miserable #Economics

  • Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering.
    -- James Hillman

    #Dream #Wander #Who You Are

  • You don't know what you're going to get into when you follow your bliss.
    -- James Hillman

    #Bliss #Follow Your Bliss

  • We approach people the same way we approach our cars. We take the poor kid to a doctor and ask, What's wrong with him, how much will it cost, and when can I pick him up?
    -- James Hillman

    #Children #Kids #Doctors

  • It is impossible to see the angel unless you first have a notion of it.
    -- James Hillman

    #Letting Go #Angel #Firsts

  • Depression opens the door to beauty of some kind.
    -- James Hillman

    #Depression #Doors #Kind

  • From my perspective as a depth psychologist, I see that those who have a connection with story are in better shape and have better prognosis than those to whom story must be introduced.
    -- James Hillman

    #Perspective #Depth #Connections

  • Follow the lead of your symptoms, for there’s usually a myth in the mess, and a mess is an expression of soul.
    -- James Hillman

    #Expression #Soul #Symptoms

  • We are human less by virtue of our ideal goals than by the vice of our inferiority.
    -- James Hillman

    #Inspirational #Goal #Vices

  • The character truest to itself becomes eccentric rather than immovably centered, as Emerson defined the noble character of the hero. At the edge, the certainty of borders gives way. We are more subject to invasions, less able to mobilize defenses, less sure of who we really are, even as we may be perceived by others as a person of character. The dislocation of self from center to indefinite edge merges us more with the world, so that we can feel blest by everything.
    -- James Hillman

    #Hero #Character #Self

  • We would like otherworldly visitations to come as distinct voices with clear instructions, but they may only give small signs in dreams, or as sudden hunches and insights that cannot be denied. They feel more as if they emerge from inside and steer you from within like an inner guardian angel. . . . And, most amazing, it has never forgotten you, although you may have spent most of your life ignoring it.
    -- James Hillman

    #Inspirational #Dream #Angel

  • Open your heart, your gaze, to the visitations of angels, even if the gifts they bring may not be centeredness and balance but eccentricity and a wholly unfamiliar sense of pleasure called joy.
    -- James Hillman

    #Inspirational #Angel #Heart

  • ...you find your genius by looking in the mirror of your life. Your visible image shows your inner truth, so when you're estimating others, what you see is what you get. It therefore becomes critically important to see generously, or you will get only what you see; to see sharply, so that you discern the mix of traits rather than a generalized lump; and to see deeply into dark shadows, or else you will be deceived.
    -- James Hillman

    #Dark #Mirrors #Shadow

  • How can we know ourselves by ourselves? . . . Soul needs intimate connection, not only to individuate, but simply to live. For this we need relationships of the profoundest kind through which we can realize ourselves, where self-revelation is possible, where interest in and love for soul is paramount.
    -- James Hillman

    #Inspirational #Self #Soul

  • The comic spirit masquerades in all things we say and do. We are each a clown and do not need to put on a white face.
    -- James Hillman

    #Fun #White #Faces

  • In the cosmology behind psychology, there is no reason for anyone to be here or to do anything... I'am an accident - a result - and therefore a victim... if I'm only a result of past causes, then I'm a victim of those past causes.... or, if you look at it from the sociological perspective, I'm the result of upbringing, class, race, gender, social prejudices, and economics. So I'm a victim again. A result .
    -- James Hillman

    #Past #Race #Class

  • Words, like angels, are powers which have invisible power over us....
    -- James Hillman

    #Angel #Invisible

  • You are born with a character; it is given, a gift, as the old stories say, from the guardians upon your birth...Each person enters the world called.
    -- James Hillman

    #Character #Stories #World

  • The idea of death robs inquiry of its passionate vitality and empties our efforts of their purpose by coming to one predestined conclusion, death. Why inquire if you already know the answer?
    -- James Hillman

    #Death #Ideas #Effort

  • I like to imagine a person's psyche to be like a boardinghouse full of characters. The ones who show up regularly and who habitually follow the house rules may not have met other long-term residents who stay behind closed doors, or who only appear at night. An adequate theory of character must make room for character actors, for the stuntmen and animal handlers, for all the figures who play bit parts and produce unexpected acts. They often make the show fateful, or tragic, or farcically absurd.
    -- James Hillman

    #Character #Animal #Night

  • Each of us needs an adequate biography: How do I put together into a coherent image the pieces of my life? How do I find the basic plot of my story?
    -- James Hillman

    #Together #Plot #Needs

  • Each person enters the world called.
    -- James Hillman

    #World #Persons

  • The moment the angel enters a life it enters an environment. We are ecological from day one.
    -- James Hillman

    #Angel #Environment #Moments

  • Each morning, we return from the dream soul trying to adjust to the day world, that moment when the two souls exchange places in the driver’s seat.
    -- James Hillman

    #Dream #Morning #Two

  • Fear is a huge thing for older people.
    -- James Hillman

    #People #Older People

  • We cannot be studied or cured apart from the planet...
    -- James Hillman

    #Planets

  • The transfiguration of matter occurs through wonder.
    -- James Hillman

    #Matter #Wonder #Transfiguration

  • Ecology movements, futurism, feminism, urbanism, protest and disarmament, personal individuation cannot alone save the world from the catastrophe inherent in our very idea of the world. They require a cosmological vision that saves the phenomenon 'world' itself, a move in soul that goes beyond measures of expediency to the archetypal source of our world's continuing peril: the fateful neglect, the repression, of the anima mundi.
    -- James Hillman

    #Moving #Our World #Ideas

  • ....anything you attend to carefully can bring blessing....
    -- James Hillman

    #Blessing

  • The psyche is highly flammable material. So we are always wrapping things in asbestos, keeping our images and fantasies at arm's length because they are so full of love
    -- James Hillman

    #Asbestos #Arms #Fantasy

  • The capacity for people to kid themselves is huge. Living on illusions or delusions, and the re-establishing of these illusions or delusions requires a big effort to keep them from being seen through. But a very old idea is at work behind our current state of affairs: enantiodromia, or the Greek notion of things turning into their opposite.
    -- James Hillman

    #Kids #Opposites #Ideas

  • Whether we like it or not, men have more of the offices, more of the higher jobs, more of the seats in Congress. Men need to re-examine what their power is. We need to understand how to use it.
    -- James Hillman

    #Jobs #Men #Office

  • In the history of the treatment of depression, there was the dunking stool, purging of the bowels of black bile, hoses, attempts to shock the patient. All of these represent hatred or aggression towards what depression represents in the patient.
    -- James Hillman

    #Hatred #Black #Patient

  • We forget that the soul has its own ancestors.
    -- James Hillman

    #Soul #Forget #Ancestor

  • The word power has such a generally negative implication in our society. What are people talking about? Are they talking about muscles, or control?
    -- James Hillman

    #Talking #People #Negative

  • Instead of seeing depression as a dysfunction, it is a functioning phenomenon. It stops you cold, sets you down, makes you damn miserable.
    -- James Hillman

    #Depression #Dysfunction #Cold

  • Just stop for a minute and you'll realize you're happy just being. I think it's the pursuit that screws up happiness. If we drop the pursuit, it's right here.
    -- James Hillman

    #Happiness #Being Happy #Thinking

  • The culture is going into a psychological depression. We are concerned about our place in the world, about being competitive: Will my children have as much as I have? Will I ever own my own home? How can I pay for a new car? Are immigrants taking away my white world?
    -- James Hillman

    #Children #Home #White

  • We're an air bag society that wants guarantees on everything that we buy. We want to be able to take everything back and get another one. We want a 401-k plan and Social Security.
    -- James Hillman

    #Air #Able #Bags

  • As Plotinus tells us, we elected the body, the parents, the place, and the circumstances that suited the soul and that, as the myth says, belongs to its necessity.
    -- James Hillman

    #Parent #Soul #Body

  • All we can do when we think of kids today is think of more hours of school, earlier age at the computer, and curfews. Who would want to grow up in that world?
    -- James Hillman

    #Birthday #Growing Up #Kids

  • We need to work on the world so it will not be so oppressive.
    -- James Hillman

    #Needs #World

  • I don't think anything changes until ideas change. The usual American viewpoint is to believe that something is wrong with the person.
    -- James Hillman

    #Believe #Thinking #Ideas

  • Psychotherapy theory turns it all on you: you are the one who is wrong. If a kid is having trouble or is discouraged, the problem is not just inside the kid; it's also in the system, the society.
    -- James Hillman

    #Kids #Problem #Trouble

  • I'm the result of upbringing, class, race, gender, social prejudices, and economics. So I'm a victim again. A result.
    -- James Hillman

    #Class #Race #Prejudice

  • Everything that everyone is afraid of has already happened: The fragility of capitalism, which we don't want to admit; the loss of the empire of the United States; and American exceptionalism. In fact, American exceptionalism is that we are exceptionally backward in about fifteen different categories, from education to infrastructure.
    -- James Hillman

    #Loss #Fifteen #Want

  • If you are still being hurt by an event that happened to you at twelve, it is the thought that is hurting you now.
    -- James Hillman

    #Inspirational #Change #Hurt

  • My war - and I have yet to win a decisive battle - is with the modes of thought that and conditioned feelings that prevail in psychology and therefore also in the way we think and feel about our being. Of these conditions none are more tyrannical than the convictions that clamp the mind and heart into positivistic science (geneticism and computerism), economics (bottom-line capitalism), and single-minded faith (fundamentalism).
    -- James Hillman

    #War #Heart #Thinking

  • By seeing differently, we do differently
    -- James Hillman

    #Love #Family #Happiness

  • An individual's harmony with his or her 'own deep self' requires not merely a journey to the interior but a harmonizing with the environmental world.
    -- James Hillman

    #Journey #Self #Environmental

  • Writing books for me is anyway much like a military campaign. I confess to fighting my way through with military metaphors. There is a strategy, an overall concept, and there are tactics along the way…Tradition would say I was a 'child of Mars.'
    -- James Hillman

    #Children #Military #Book

  • Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul-spark, that seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form. Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each new event as it is, its sensuous presentation as a face bespeaking its interior image - in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as psychic reality. Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul is given with each thing, God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street.
    -- James Hillman

    #Animal #Reality #Men

  • I see happiness as a by-product. I don't think you can pursue happiness. I think that phrase is one of the very few mistakes the Founding Fathers made
    -- James Hillman

    #Father #Mistake #Thinking

  • I'm cautious about a lot of words
    -- James Hillman

    #Cautious

  • When they talk about family values, it's in a repressive way, as if our American tradition were only the Puritan tradition or the 19th century oppressive tradition. The Christian tradition.
    -- James Hillman

    #Christian #Way #Tradition

  • It's very hard to know what wisdom is
    -- James Hillman

  • It's very important for men to look downward, to the next generation
    -- James Hillman

    #Men #Important #Generations

  • It helps to regard soul as an active intelligence, forming and plotting each person's fate. Translators use "plot" to render the ancient Greek word mythos in English. The plots that entangle our souls and draw forth our characters are the great myths. That is why we need a sense of myth and knowledge of different myths to gain insight into our epic struggles, our misalliances, and our tragedies. Myths show the imaginative structures inside our messes, and our human characters can locate themselves against the background of the characters of myth.
    -- James Hillman

    #Struggle #Character #Fate

  • Mediocrity is no answer to violence. In fact, it probably invites violence. At least the mediocre and the violent appear together as in the old Western movies - the ruffian outlaw band shooting up main street and the little white church with the little white schoolteacher wringing her hands. To cool violence you need rhythm, humor, tempering; you need dance and rhetoric. Not therapeutic understanding.
    -- James Hillman

    #Hands #White #Understanding

  • Loss means losing what was We want to change but we don't want to lose. Without time for loss, we don't have time for soul
    -- James Hillman

    #Mean #Loss #Soul

  • By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable with a God
    -- James Hillman

    #Cosmos #Archetype #Universe

  • I know my own deficiencies, one of which is that I had lived away from America for such a long time. It's called expatriate
    -- James Hillman

    #America #Long #Expatriates

  • We have to give value to authority. We have to give value to office, being in office, holding office.
    -- James Hillman

    #Giving #Office #Holding On

  • I am not caused by my history-my parents, my childhood and development. These are mirrors in which I may catch glimpses of my image.
    -- James Hillman

    #Father #Mirrors #Parent

  • It's better to go into the world half-cocked than not to go into the world at all.
    -- James Hillman

    #Half #World #Chance

  • The circumstances, including my body and my parents, whom I may curse, are my soul's own choice and I do not understand this because I have forgotten
    -- James Hillman

    #Choices #Parent #Soul