LOOKING AT LIFE BACKWARDS

The following is a slightly edited quotation from a book called "We've had a hundred years of psychotherapy and the world isn't getting better" by James Hillman, the Jungian Analyst and Author.

"But let's say somebody looked at it differently. Let's say that what matters is that you have an acorn in you, you are a certain person, and that person begins to appear early in your life, but it's there all the way through your life. Winston Churchill, for example, when he was a schoolboy, had a lot of trouble with language and didn't speak well. He was put in what we would call the remedial reading class. He had problems about writing, speaking and spelling. Of course he did! This little boy was a Nobel Prize winner in literature and had to save the Western world through his speech. Of course he had a speech defect, of course he couldn't speak easily when he was eleven or fourteen - it was too much to carry.

Or take Manolete who, when he was nine years old , was supposedly a very frightened skinny little boy who hung around his mother in the kitchen. So he becomes the greatest bullfighter our our age. Psychology will say, "Yes, he became a great bullfighter because he was such a puny little kid and he compensated by being a macho hero". That would be Adlerian psychology - you take your deficiency, your inferiority and convert it to superiority.

But suppose you take it the other way and read a person's life backwards. Then you say, Manolete was the greatest bullfighter and he knew that. Inside, his psyche sensed at the age of nine that his fate was to meet thousand-pound black bulls with great horns. Of course he fucking well held onto his mother! Because he couldn't hold that capacity - at nine years old your fate is all there and you can't handle it. It's too big. It's not that he was inferior; he had a great destiny."