Saturday, September 3, 2011

James Hillman on Beauty

Here's something from that innovative and opinionated psychologist James Hillman:

"That the world is loveless results directly from the repression of beauty, its beauty and our sensitivity to beauty. For love to return to the world, beauty must first return, else we love the world only as a moral duty: Clean it up, preserve its nature, exploit it less. If love depends on beauty, then beauty comes first, a priority that accords with pagan philosophy rather than Christian. Beauty before love also accords with the all-too-human experience of being driven to love by the allure of beauty" (from "The Practice of Beauty" in Uncontrollable Beauty, ed. Bill Beckley, with David Shapiro).

Hillman goes on to say that what's really repressed in psychology today is not violence, not misogyny, not child abuse: it's beauty and the acceptance of how important beauty is to the well-being of people. Perhaps there wouldn't be so much absenteeism at work, he suggests, perhaps the attention span of school students would improve, if people could spend time in places that were lovely and cared for rather than sterile and ugly.

It's a great essay, worth buying the book for, although there are a lot of other interesting pieces in this collection as well.

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