The Soul's Code

In Search of Character and Calling


Publisher: Warner Books


Language: English | Number of Pages: 352 | Format: Paperback

Isbn-10: 0446673714 | Isbn-13: 9780446673716 | Publish date: 

Also available as: Hardcover , Audio Cassette , Softcover and Stapled

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Book Description
Some call it genius. Others have names it spirit, daimon, and even guardian angel. But while philosophers and psychologists from Plato to Jung emphasize 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 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. Champions a glorious sort of rugged individualism that, with the help of an inner daimon (or guardian angel), can triumph against all odds. ˜ Washington Post Book WorldBrilliant, absorbing work.... Hillman dares us to believe that we are each meant to be here; that we are needed by the world around us. ˜ Publishers Weekly
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    Cuicumque genius suus

    Hillman's acorn theory, exposed in this book, is a rejuvenation of Heraclitus' dictum "ethos anthropoi daimon" (normally rendered into "Character is fate") and its later embodiments, such as Plato's m ...continue

    Hillman's acorn theory, exposed in this book, is a rejuvenation of Heraclitus' dictum "ethos anthropoi daimon" (normally rendered into "Character is fate") and its later embodiments, such as Plato's myth of the daimon calling for a body to incarnate after passing through the hands of the Fates and Necessity, Plotinus' postillae and commentaries, Romans' "homo faber fortunae suae", Ficino's ideas on souls, and so on and on. The echo of the oraculus of Apollo ("know yourself") lives on and inspires again the sensible reader of this famous work by the founder of the Archetypal psychology (as a follower of C. G. Jung).
    Hillman indeed goes back to the myths as self-contained (bootstrapped) explanation of aspects of reality, and calls to re-install the right place and importance of the invisibles in human life after the rough blinding (that is, overflowing its original context) due to the Enlightment. So the book carries an atmosphere of fable and romanticism as it tells of genius, daimon, soul, angel and other wordly names of that acorn that may reside at the core of each person's life, thereby containing all further blossomings in a nutshell. Happyness as eudaimonia (assolving the requests of the daimon), fate and necessity, accidents to help the daimon express its power to give direction and an impelling sense of urgence and importance though without exceeding into the extremist position of fatalism and consequent de-responsabilization.
    Hillman criticizes the current psychology's exclusive accent on "parental fallacy", genetical and environmental factors as all-inclusive explanations for children's future and achievements, and offers the daimon as a third way, besides nature and nurture, to explain the proper and unquestionably irreproducible development of the individual lives.
    Hillman produces a large number of pieces of eminent biographies (and also discusses the often observed repulsion of relevant characters to encapsule their lives into biographies) to support his claims, considering the extraordinary as general case containing the ordinary as special. His style is soft and eloquent throughout, well spoken and passionate at times, devoid of technicisms but rich in images and facts.
    Overall, this essay can be very stimulating in its provocative (yet old) claim, as it is provocative in calling for a return to older positions re-invented in hindsight and sub specie aeternitatis.

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