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

Random House


James Hillman




chaos systems


copied to file on writing biography

“I am different from everyone else and the same as everyone else; I am different from myself ten years ago and the same as myself ten years ago; my life is a stable chaos, chaotic and repetitive both, and I can never predict what tiny, trivial bit of input will result in a huge and significant output.  I must always remain acutely sensitive to initial conditions, such as what or who came into the world with me and enters the world with me each day.  On that I remain dependent.  (Hillman/SC/140)”


Nowhere has this been more true for me than in the area of the choice to say yes to Ernie.  That single tiny word, which was accompanied by a complete willingness of my heart to open the door to my soul, still leaves me in conflict daily, sometimes moment to moment – and in confusion, “What can I do?  What am I strong enough to do?  What is the best I can do?  What do I want to do?  What is the best thing for me to do?”

“If ever we wanted obvious proof of the daimon and its calling, we need but fall once in love.  The rational sources of heredity and environment are not enough to give rise to the torrents of romantic agony.  It’s all you, and never do you feel more flooded with importance and more destined; nor can what you do turn out to be more demonic.  (Hillman/SC/144)”

“Calling crystallizes in that person whose face calls you to what feels like your fate.  (Hillman/SC/144)  That person becomes a divinity exteriorized, master of my fate, mistress of my soul, as the Romantics say, both demonic and angelic, the one I must cling to and cannot part from, not because I am so weak, but because it, the call, the destiny, is so strong.  Of course I am tormented, possessive, dependent, in pain.  The daimon is shredding my love map.  (Hillman/SC/145)”

“We can, however, read the recent research as support for the autonomy of the genius.  Its fire lights up precisely the companion required, for better or worse, for long term or short, convincing me that this other is a one-and-only and this event is unique.  The other styles of loving charted in the research – sharing, caring, practical commitments, and libidinal intimacy – are less selective, less personal.  They do not insist upon this particular partner who embodies the image I carry in my heart.  Romantic mania sees what is already there in the acorn before you even came along.  (Hillman/SC/145)”

It is unclear to me what he means by the last part of this last sentence

The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset [Jose Ortega y Gasset, On Love:  Aspects of a Single Theme (London:  Victor Gallancz, 1959)] says we fall in love on few occasions in a long life.  It is a rate and fortuitous event, and it strikes incredibly deeply.  When such love happens, it is for no other reason than the singularity of the object.  Only this person.  Not attributes and virtues, not voice or hips or bank account, not projections left over from earlier flames or hand-me-down family patterns, simply the uniqueness of this person whom the heart’s eye selected.  Without that sense of fate in the choice, the romance of the love doesn’t work.  For this sort of love is not a personal relationship or a genetic epistasis, but more likely a daimonic inheritance, a gift and curse from the invisible ancestors (Hillman/SC/145)”

I guess this is then an epic love, or a mythic love that I have with Ernie

“Death is a ponderous and repugnant term to connect with the intense vibrations of romantic love; but romantic love especially reverberates with feelings of both the eternal and the shortness and fragility of life, as if death’s call to a limitless “beyond” elsewhere were always shadowing and inspiring romantic passion.  (Hillman/SC/146)”

“A heart’s image lies within each person.  It is what we truly reveal when we fall helplessly in love, for then we are opened to display who we most truly are, giving a glimpse of our soul’s genius…..  When love moves the heart, something else is perceived in the idolized object, which poetic language tries to capture.  (Hillman/SC/146)”

“The meeting between lover and beloved is heart to heart, like that between sculptor and model, between hand and stone.  It is a meeting of images, and exchange of imaginations…..You are in love because of imagination.  (Hillman/SC/147)”

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