With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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James Hillman was a psychologist and author of more than twenty books. He died in 2011.
I am not so sure it is “we” who look back. The commemorating imagination seems to come alive on its own. We are not the sole instigators of remembering; memory seems to push itself on us.
Hillman: I would rather define self as the interiorization of community. And if you make that little move, then you’re going to feel very different about things. If the self were defined as the interiorization of community, then the boundaries between me and another would be much less sure.
Baby Face/Death Mask. Right away, at birth, the infant no sooner delivered, breathing, and bathed, its face is studied for clues to character. It looks so fierce, so wisely old, so placid, so much like “your” side of the family. . . . And, at the end, quiescent and struggle-free on the deathbed, they used to come with the plaster to make a death mask. The custom, begun almost five thousand years ago in Egypt, would capture the essence of character in the features of the face.
The acorn theory suggests a primitive solution. It says: Your daimon selected both the egg and the sperm, as it selected their carriers, called “parents.” Their union results from your necessity — and not the other way around.
Anthropologists describe a condition among “primitive” peoples called “loss of soul.” In this condition a man is out of himself, unable to find either the outer connection between humans or the inner connection to himself. He is unable to take part in his society, its rituals, and traditions. They are dead to him, he to them. His connection to family, totem, nature, is gone. Until he regains his soul he is not a true human.