INTER VIEWS by James with Laura Pozzo Hillman


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In some ways Hillman, the ebullient, creatively disorganized radical Jungian and prophet of ""archetypal psychology,"" is just the sort of person who should avoid the chaotic out-spill of the taped interview; on the other hand, he works the medium like a virtuoso--though we're left in the end with brilliant bits and pieces, at best. ""Laura Pozzo"" is the pseudonym of an Italian journalist (and well-informed student of both literature and psychology) who met with Hillman in Zurich and elicited from him this series of ""soul-full"" outbursts, some of them quite eloquent, on the nature of his work. Perhaps the closest Hillman comes to summarizing what he is about appears in his tirade against psychodynamic explanations: ""We cannot explain the psyche. We are the psyche. The soul wants imaginative responses that move it, delight it, deepen it. . . explanatory responses just put us back into positivism and science--or worse, into delusion, a kind of maya or avidya, an ignorance that makes us believe we know."" Hillman will tolerate no ""monotheisms"": all-inclusive, reductive, radically centralized systems, religious or otherwise. His model of the healthy personality and the good life is built on a free interpretation of the pagan Greek pantheon: a loosely federated body of forces, male and female, harmonious and conflicting, that mirrors reality more sublimely than anything in the Bible--or the journals of ""rat psych."" In expounding his visionary faith, Hillman has constant recourse to overstatement and rhetorical excess, especially when dealing with Christianity (""a religion of the child archetype'). But he knows this (he confesses engagingly to all his foibles), and aces the interview by laughing st the whole idea of himself as a guru revealing the ultimate Truth. A rambunctious philosophical spiel.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1983
Publisher: Harper & Row