From The Guardian’s James Hillman obituary by Mark Kidel:
He drew on the writers and philosophers of the Italian Renaissance and ancient Greece, as well as a romantic tradition that included Keats, Goethe, Schelling and Dilthey. Not wishing to create a school of his own, he proposed an „archetypal” or „imaginal” psychology that would restore the psyche or soul to a discipline he believed to have been diminished by scientific and medical models. Influenced by the French Islamist and Sufi Henry Corbin, the poetics of Gaston Bachelard and the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, he argued that reality is a construct of the imagination – the stuff of myths, dreams, fantasies and images. There was, however, very little about his thought that was divorced from the world of money, war and politics. His unrelenting cultural critique embraced everything from masturbation to plastic surgery, and the design of ceilings to US foreign policy.
The „image” as an expression of the imagination, in poetry, dreams or visual art, was of paramount importance to him – as an antidote to the literalism that dominates everyday discourse. Hillman warned against the reductive tendencies of interpretation and theoretical speculation. He would advocate „sticking to the image”, whose often indistinct or paradoxical language spoke, he argued, with more authenticity than verbal discourse. Film was an ideal vehicle for his ideas. He was the main contributor to my films The Heart Has Reasons (Channel 4, 1993), Kind of Blue (Channel 4, 1994) and the five part-series The Architecture of the Imagination (BBC2, 1994).
The Guardian Wednesday 21 December 2011