**James Hillman – Soul’s Code – (on being broken)


“The Soul’s Code:  In Search of Character and Calling”

Random House


James Hillman

Some accidents swamp the boat, bust the form.  For example, “shell shock,” as post-traumatic stress disorder was called during the First World War; rape at knifepoint, crashes at high speed; repetitive, abusive cruelty.

Some souls nonetheless seem to “work with it”;

others remain fixated in the tar, struggling to “work it out,” as we see in the recurring nightmares of Vietnam veterans.  Has the acorn been so damaged by these accidents that its form remains incurably injured, a gestalt that cannot close, a rudder broken no matter how the helmsman steers?  (Hillman/SC/207)”

It is obvious here that Hillman is asking the question but offering no answers.  This “brokenness” is referred to in the Traumatic Stress book, last chapter, and in Glasser’s second book as “giving up.”

We have to understand that there is a very real, body, physiological reason why some people supposedly get “broken.”


“Fatalism answers:  Everything is in the hands of the gods.  Teleological finalism says:  It all has a hidden purpose and belongs to your growth.  Heroism says:  Integrate those shadows or slay them; put disaster behind you and get on with your life.  In each of these replies, the accidental as category dissolves into the larger philosophy of fatalism, finalism, and heroism.  (Hillman/SC/207)”

“I would rather keep accident as an authentic category of existence, forcing speculations about existence.  A serious accident demands answers.  What does it mean, why did it happen, what does it want?  Continuing reappraisals are part of the aftershock.  The accident may never be integrated, but it may strengthen the integrity of the soul’s form by adding to it perplexity, sensitivity, vulnerability, and scar tissue.  (Hillman/SC/207)”

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