Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hillman analyzes George and Dick

Writing yesterday's post led me to revisit various writings by James Hillman, and I stumbled upon these comments on the paranoia of the state. Hillman wrote them in 1988, but they seem especially apt to our present leadership.

"The deepest problem of statecraft is how to govern the inherent paranoia of government so that its symptoms not exacerbate into corrupt tyranny and Byzantine paralysis, symptoms such as secret police, loyalty oaths and lie detection, electronic surveillance, fear of weakness, systemized defenses and predictions (domino theory), and the absence of those soul qualities, humor, aesthetics and softness replaced by grand eschatological ideals: order, peace, humanity, fraternity, rights and God.

Given this inherent unconscious paranoia, there will be a need for a projected fantasized enemy and fantastical defenses against the fantasized enemy. Situations will always be valued by constructs of strength and weakness, winning and losing. Demand for unconditional surrender and the fear of it will be paramount. Treaties based on compromise will be all but impossible to negotiate. A nation in league with others will be forced--whenever it becomes unable to dominate the group--to veto or withdraw. The potential for open hostility is ever present and will be denied."

From On Paranoia, James Hillman, 1988, as reprinted in A Blue Fire: Selected Writings by James Hillman, 1991.

If you're a James Hillman fan, or a determined non-fan, you'll find an interesting, happily brief critique of his work here.

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