Senex and Puer: 3 (James Hillman Uniform Edition) Hardcover – 31 Dec 2005
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About the Author
The pioneering imaginative psychology of James Hillman that soon will span five decades has entered cultural history, affecting lives and minds in a wide range of fields. For the creativity of his thinking, the originator of Archetypal Psychology and author of A Terrible Love of War; The Soul's Code; and The Force of Character has received many honors, including the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic. He has held distinguished lectureships at Yale, Princeton, Chicago, and Syracuse Universities, and his books have been translated into some twenty languages. The American public showed its appreciation of his approach to psychology by placing his book, The Soul's Code, at the top of the bestseller list of serious works of nonfiction. Of his many books, Spring
Publications has published Anima, Loose Ends, Archetypal Psychology:
A Brief Account, Pan and the Nightmare, Suicide and the Soul,
Insearch, Oedipus Variations (with Karl Kerenyi), The Thought of the
Heart and the Soul of the World, Inter Views, and Lectures on Jung's
Typology (with Marie-Louise von Franz). He lives in Connecticut.
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Top Customer Reviews
The current volume contains a number of essays on the matter of the puer aeternis which is literally the eternal boy, though Hillman expressly states this archetype is one that can affect women, so I will refer to it as child in this review. Marie-Louise von Franz, another major thinker in the Jungian tradition, has also written a significant volume on this matter (The Problem of the Puer Aeternus (Studies in Jungian psychology by Jungian analysts)) which is also sometimes also known a "Peter Pan" syndrome, the problem of people who are unable to grow up.
Hillman however has another take on this. The child is not so much a problem as a solution. The child who experiments and expands boundaries for us. In a later essay he points out one perhaps should not look at such a child in relation to the mother and how it suckles. More important is the milk it takes to transform itself into life. However, he also suggests just as important as the child is another figure who it has to be seen in relation to, the senex, or the elder. The senex is the holder of limits, conventions, the one that has experienced woundings and who may be advising caution to the child as it knows that death is also a possibility. It is therefore the relationship between these two images that are important to consider.
The essays in this volume centre around the interactions of these two figures.Read more ›
It is not an easy read but with true grit a great deal of Hillman's lifetimes experience rubs off with full ful maturity.
It is worth a hundred self help books but as I say it ain't an easy book to read and he also covers gender psycholgical growth of Anima and Animus into the fully grown old person that has hopefully developed into a mature wise elder of the comunity.
He says that the senex is the "root of ego-formation", creating the archetypal ground of the ego, which is the "senex-et-puer". Whereas positive attitudes and behavior reflect its unity, negative attitudes arise from the splitting of this archetype into two archetypes, namely senex and puer.
Thus, maintaining the unity of the archetype is equal to maintaining the wholeness of the ego, because senex-puer is constitutive of the ego. Unity is preserved by short-cutting the ego by means of an endless monologue, or rather, dialogue between the constituent parts of the archetype:
"In answering one's own question one is puer-et-senex. In questioning one's own answer one is senex-et-puer. The two faces turned towards each other in dialogue. This unending dialogue with oneself and between oneself and the world is that which holds one in meaning [...] Any solution originating from the usual mind would be one-sided; it would be a solution imposed by either the senex or puer components of the ego. Thus the ego must first undergo an archetypal therapy of its split root" (Kindle loc. 1001-1028).
After having thus replaced traditional psychological theory with an edifice predicated on his own neurotic constitution, he goes on to repudiate "the psychologist's maxim of integrating the shadow.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Hillman's essay, "Senex and Puer: An Aspect of the Historical and Psychological Present" written at the peak of his powers, seems to me the most profound and intellectually rigorous essay ever. Hillman's Puer impulse was iconoclastic. But the rigor of his Senex generated genius. On my third reading of the essay (a smudgy photocopy given to me in 1978), doors of insight into vast inner realities swung opened into segments of clear seeing. Great Father, the driving force of my lifelong compulsive all-consuming dark existential mandate, emerged into awareness. WOW moments. Buddhists know it as Prajna. Hillman's companion essay on Great Mother and Her Son the Hero is almost as profound.
"The taming power of the Small..... It furthers one to see the Great Man".
For the exacting precision of your powers of discrimination:
Thank you, James Hillman.
in response to mr. ipp's comments about how hillman is satan (or maybe he used the word guru) and the jungians are a "cult", i would like to say that maybe you should look behind the big intellectual words you used and see how much hatred is within. i don't think your rationality or mind structures saved you from feeling that hatred; it only increased it. i agree that archetypal psychology isn't for everyone but either is the wonderful rational science you speak of that will save all of us from "disorders". the world is chaos, my friend, good and evil, light and dark are one - some of us actually want to face our "darkness" because it produces more love and acceptance of this mysterious universe. maybe for yourself you should stick to reading cognitive-behavioral psychology books and you'll feel more comfortable. but please don't judge a book by it's cover. the book of jungian psychology may have the cover of evil, but for some of us who can look deeply enough we see that the contents actually produce more love and goodness. the book of modern rational western psychology may have the cover of good with positive messages, new drugs to cure merely physical disorders, and hope - but look deeply within its contents and you can find a more insidious evil of numbed souls and repressed fear. and when you're a devil's advocate like myself and realize that both of the books can be looked at vice versa, that's when you realize that good/evil is not in the objects but in yourself. when you look at it in yourself, you gain power over it and naturally want to spread more good and love because it gives back more. but some choose to see the good/evil only outside of themselves and therefore are subject to having to live with hatred that is not in their control. archetypal psychology is not evil, mr. ipp, the evil is within you. rationality will never save you from judgement and judgement will always provide more pain for you.