Thursday, 5 July 2018
James Hillman - evil genius; contrasted with his recent equivalent: Jordan Peterson
At one time I spent a great deal of time and effort in understanding, and attempting to live-by, the ideas of James Hillman.
Yesterday, I took a look at some of the online interviews with and talks by Hillman that have been posted over the years; and I can see what it was that appealed about him. He is extremely intelligent, articulate, creative - and consequently generative of interesting ideas.
The current successor to Hillman is, of course, another post-Jungian: Jordan Peterson - and the contrast is interesting. Peterson is also articulate and intelligent, albeit less so than Hillman, but he is not creative: JP is a summariser, not an originator.
There is a smallish political contrast: Hillman was a radical Leftist who worked in the in the sixties counter-culture and its descendants; whereas Peterson is a Left-libertarian. Hillman called himself a polytheist - but was only ironically so; and his main alignment was as an anti-Christian. Jordan Peterson is not a Christian, but is pro-Christian in his political alignment.
The thing is: James Hillman was evil - by which I mean that he was explicitly, strategically and self-consciously against Good (as Good is understood by Christians). Of course, Hillman said many good and true things, because all people have both Good and evil in them: but Hillman's alignment was undoubtedly evil.
By contrast Jordan Peterson, is on the Wrong Side in the Spiritual War that is Life; but he is not explicitly, strategically and self-consciously against Good.
Anyway, Hillman is an interesting case! As I watched him speak yesterday on various YouTube vids, I felt on the one hand a fascination at the ideas, and mode of expression; on the other hand a mounting distaste and discomfort - a kind of revulsion or disgust which built up the longer I watched. I was insidiously drawn-in; and also felt an increasing desire to flee...
I suppose what James Hillman was, was a kind of dragon! Much like Smaug of The Hobbit. Impressive, hypnotic, beady-eyed, witty, eloquent, sly, manipulative - and with a stone-hard heart!