The Soul's Code
In Search of Character and Calling
“[An] acute and powerful vision . . . offers a renaissance of humane values.”—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
Plato called it “daimon,” the Romans “genius,” the Christians “guardian angel”; today we use such terms as “heart,” “spirit,” and “soul.” While philosophers and psychologists from Plato to Jung have studied and debated the fundamental essence of our individuality, our modern culture refuses to accept that a unique soul guides each of us from birth, shaping the course of our lives. In this extraordinary bestseller, James Hillman presents a brilliant vision of our selves, and an exciting approach to the mystery at the center of every life that asks, “What is it, in my heart, that I must do, be, and have? And why?”
Drawing on the biographies of figures such as Ella Fitzgerald and Mohandas K. Gandhi, Hillman argues that character is fate, that there is more to each individual than can be explained by genetics and environment. The result is a reasoned and powerful road map to understanding our true nature and discovering an eye-opening array of choices—from the way we raise our children to our career paths to our social and personal commitments to achieving excellence in our time.
Praise for The Soul’s Code
“Champions a glorious sort of rugged individualism that, with the help of an inner daimon (or guardian angel), can triumph against all odds.”—The Washington Post Book World
“[A] brilliant, absorbing work . . . Hillman dares us to believe that we are each meant to be here, that we are needed by the world around us.”—Publishers Weekly
Decades ago, pioneering Jungian analyst and author Hillman (Kinds of Power) challenged the assumptions of Western psychology by applying the ancient concept of "soul" to the modern psyche. Rendered in simpler terms by his protege, bestselling author Thomas Moore, Hillman's work on soul has fed the public imagination with the nourishing idea that we are vastly deeper and more permeable to the influences around us than we may think. Here, Hillman discusses character and calling, introducing an "acorn theory" that claims that "each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny." Borrowing the language of Plato's Myth of Ur, Hillman suggests that this imaginary sense of our lives or callings drives each of us like a personal daimon or force. Drawing on extraordinary lives from Judy Garland to Coco Chanel to Hitler, he describes the movements of the daimon, showing how it can use everything in our environment, from lucky accidents to bad movies, to allow the acorn to "grow down" and express itself in the real material of our lives. Without succumbing to oversimplification or wishful thinking, Hillman challenges the reductive "parental fallacy"--the contention that our early experience with our parents determines our selves and our futures. The daimon, he says, pulls us up out of mere conditioning to have a fate. In this brilliant, absorbing work, Hillman dares us to believe that we are each meant to be here; that we are needed by the world around us. Simultaneous Random AudioBook; author tour.