Sunday, January 08, 2012

Understanding the Acorn Theory

More quotes out of James Hillman's "The Soul's Code." This will be the last day of the parenting and adulthood thread. Also, there are more quotes then usual in this post partly because it is in memory of Mr. Hillman who passed away at the end of October in 2011.

He's speaking to adults here:

"I want us to envision that what children go through has to do with finding a place in the world for their specific calling. They are trying to live two lives at once, the one they were born with and the one of the place and among the people they were born into." [James Hillman, Pg. 13, The Soul's Code]

"So this book is about children, offering a way to regard them differently, to enter their imaginations, and to discover in their pathologies what their daimon might be indicating and what their destiny might want." [James Hillman, Pg. 14, The Soul
s Code]

"A child defends its daimon's dignity. That's why even a frail child at a 'tender' age refuses to submit to what it feels is unfair and untrue and reacts so savagely to abusive misperecptions. The idea of childhood abuse needs to be expanded beyond the sexual kind--which is so vicious not principally because it is sexual, but because it abuses the dignity at the core of personality, that acorn of myth."[Hillman, Pg.27 The Soul's Code.]

He explains what the acorn theory or "acorn of myth" is here:

"The acorn theory proposes, and I will bring evidence for the claim that you and I and every single person is born with a defining image. Individuality resides in a formal cause--to use old philosophical language going back to Aristotle. We each embody our own idea, in the language of Plato and Plotinus. And this form, this idea, this image does not tolerate too much straying. The theory also attributes to this innate image an angelic or daimonic intention, as if it were a spark of consciousness; and, moreover, holds that it has our interest at heart because it chose us for its reasons."[James Hillman, Pg. 12, The Soul's Code]

I like the idea the it has chosen us and has our interests at heart. If you ever want to read a good autobiography that supports this idea pick up "Providence", by Daniel Quinn. I think he did an amazing job at showing how his daimon guided him throughout his life.

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