Pacifica Graduate Institute Discussion with James Hillman, Ph.D.

Posted by Nikole Hollenitsch on Jan 14, 2016 2:17:29 PM

Video Breakdown from James Hillman, Ph.D. : The genius of this place, the actual physical place, that keeps the place alive and is tended by the president ... It's his work for 25 years that has created this sort of vision in an actual physical place. The attention to the place, the attention to the spirit of it, the attention to the soul of it, attention to the physical actuality of it, and it is quite extraordinary that out of 25 years, this, the president who invented this has been able to keep this thing alive and moving forward. It's a personal reason for why I'm even speaking to you now today. That is, there are three parts to this. First, is a body of people. There's a body of people here that I've known for years, since the 1970s and the 1980s. That's a good span of life. Many of these people I worked with in other places, and they have gradually turned up here and are working here, and it creates an atmosphere of collegiality that's very important. I'm among friends when I come and like-minded colleagues.

What is like-minded is that they are people of purpose.

There are a lot of people who have work, and a lot of people who have jobs, and a lot of people who whatever it is, work towards retirement, but the people that work here all seem to be people of purpose; they have something to do, and we're living in a country now where people don't know what the hell they're doing. They're doing jobs. They're working for retirement. They're trying to keep their healthcare. They've got secondary reasons for what they're doing, especially men, younger men, whereas younger women, something came out of the woman's movement that moved women to know what they want and what they're going to get. They have purpose again, or maybe they have found a new purpose. The amazing thing is that men during this same period got bought up by economics, by business, by being good fathers, by being all kinds of secondary, important maybe, but they lost the purpose. "What am I living for? What do I really ... What can I do for this world?" I find that here there's that commonality of individuals who have something to do. They really have something to do. You described it yourself just now, that that's what makes it living for you. There are differences among these colleagues in their pursuits. I'm talking about really the faculty, but also the staff. They're not in agreement in the way to do this or the way to do that, but they are in agreement in dedication. In this sense, the word "fellows" should be used again, that these are fellows. You know, they have these fellows of institutes. It includes women, of course, even though the word comes out of the old male tradition. The faculty and the staff, and interestingly enough, the students, you join a fellowship in a strange way. You learn, a point you made, you learn as much from the fellows you're with as you do from your reading and your faculty and your classes and so on. The students who come often have unusual experiences behind them and often have very interesting places where they are engaged outside of Pacifica Graduate Institute, so there's an enormous amount of learning of cohorts ... You used the term ... who bring with them to the place also a kind of ... not just experience, but a kind of dedication to purposeful life. That's the first, the people. The second reason for my telling you about this place and my involvement is that genius, le genius loci, the spirit of the location. The genius of this place, that actual physical place. The attention to the place, the attention to the spirit of it, the attention to the soul of it, attention to the physical actuality of it, and this includes the extraordinary ... It's not only the faculty or the students, but the staff that maintain the same kind of spirit of the place. That's an unusual thing so that when I come here, I feel that ... It's almost like some sort of a welcome, a sort of joy coming out of the actuality of the place. That's pretty strange. Now, the third reason is that this is a place of learning. Since learning means a lot to me and the concern with learning. Now, you can say that all schools are concerned with learning, but there's different kinds of learning. This place, as Carol Pearson said, a kind of learning that touches the soul in some way or another. It's relevant to ... I don't want to say human life, but it's relevant in strange ways to why we're alive. Put it that way. Reading, writing, and thinking. Now, thinking something that sort of got left behind in a lot of places, especially in California. It's more important to do other things than think, but here, they still are concerned with thinking about the things you read and the things you write so that there is such a thing as working historically, culturally, and contemporaneously, contemporarily with the world of today.

Pacifica Graduate Institute is a school where you can work at where the school itself is working at the question of education.

What is an education? A psychological education. The school itself is constantly trying to formulate that. What is a psychological education? It doesn't mean reading psychology books. It certainly doesn't mean that. How do we develop people who have a psychological sensitivity, psychological intelligence, a psychological ability? This idea of a psychological intelligence is already being imagined, for example, by Howard Gardner at Harvard, where he is dividing up or has divided up the notion of intelligence, which was just a single kind with one single test and one single score to varieties of intelligence. One of the ones that he has adumbrated is the intelligence required for working with people, that ability to have that kind of sensitivity, which may have not the other kinds of intelligence, aesthetic, or mathematical, and so on. One of the things here that seems to me important and what I come for and always learn from is how that question of psychological intelligence is developed by the different members of the faculty in their own individual way. What do you need to learn for this, and how do learn this? How does it work, if you're doing clinical programs, how does this work in supervision and so on? Really, the question is, what is the education of the soul? The soul just doesn't come into the world and is a good thing with a tiny child, but it goes through a long process of education. How is your soul ... "Developed" is not a happy word. How is your soul ... "Processed" is not a happy word. How is the soul imagined into its life further. This place seems to me always working on, always is under discussion, is always in conflict between different views of what an education of soul is, and trying to discover, trying to define because it's something we don't have, maybe never will have. Something that Socrates was working on from day one. The student, you, if you do become students, you become part of that endeavor, which is really what makes it so interesting. The student is part of the endeavor of discovering what is an education of the psyche.


Pacifica Graduate Institute
249 Lambert Rd Carpinteria, California 93013
Phone: (805) 969-3626

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