Two ideologies that keep us going

Economics, and Therapy.

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There are therapists throughout the country, and they’re very important, because they pick up the refuse of the economic-political system.

We have mental health clinics all over the nation, in every city and county. And they all produce pamphlets about how to deal with the problems of addiction, battered wives, childhood disorders. Someone has to pick these people up, and therapy does it. But therapy operates with an ideology – an individualistic, must-learn-to-cope ideology. The individual has to learn how to cope, and the therapist helps that person stay in control. This ideology is based on the idea of individual growth and potential.

Most schools of therapy share the idea that there’s an inner world that can be made to expand and grow, and that people are living short of their possibilities, and that they need help to… what she we call it? Fulfill their potential. Therapy has become a kind of individualistic, self-improvement philosophy, a romantic ideology that suggests each person can become fuller, better, wiser, richer, more effective.

I believe we now have two ideologies that run this country. One is economics, and the other is therapy. These are the basic, bottom-line beliefs that we return to in our private moments – these are what keeps us going.

Sy Safransky is the editor and publisher of The Sun Magazine. This is an excerpt from “Conversations with a Remarkable Man: Honoring the late James Hillman,” The Sun Magazine, by Sy Safransky, Scott London and Genie Zeiger.

James Hillman was an American psychologist. He studied at, and then guided studies for, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, founded a movement toward archetypal psychology and retired into private practice, writing and traveling to lecture, until his death at his home in Connecticut on October 27, 2011.