Saturday, December 17, 2011
It's also because I didn't know he'd died until I started these searches by going through the month by month lists on Wikipedia. Somehow I missed this news on that October day, which I suspect wasn't hard to do. As Thomas Moore says in his tribute at Huffington Post (which I no longer frequent) "People don't generally know his work too well because it is so subtle and steeped in traditions of philosophy, religion, the arts and especially in the intricacies of Freud and Jung." I've never claimed to understand all of his work, just as I don't understand all of Jung. But Hillman speaks to me directly with some frequency, on levels beyond intellect. I recall in particular a strong emotional response to one of his lesser known works, two talks collected as Thought of the Heart & Soul of the World.
Moore, who knew Hillman as a friend over many years, continued: "James's many books and essays, in my view, represent the best and most original thought of our times. I expect that it will take many decades before he is truly discovered and appreciated. He changed my life by being more than a mentor and a steady, caring friend. If I had to sum up his life, I would say that he lived in the lofty realm of thought and yet also like one of the animals he loved so much. He was always close to his passions and appetites and lived with a fullness of vitality I have never seen elsewhere. To me, he taught more in his lifestyle and in his conversation than in his writing, and yet his books and articles are the most precious objects I have around me."
Meanwhile here's a link to other Hillman tributes. The "Turning 65" and "Turning 60" posts here at this blog are my real time testimony of how important Hillman has been to me in imagining and living my life.