James Hillman on changing our objects of desire in order to save ourselves

The objects of our desires, from a very early age, are promised to be material possessions. The cure for our internal longings, and in a sense desire to be fulfilled is continuously catered by the advertisers to be just around the corner. A new iPhone, a new car, a new house, or even a new chocolate bar or a double-size burger are promised to provide us the fulfillment we so desperately need.

Is money the root cause of many modern sufferings or is it greed? Are humans destined to destroy themselves through their in-built incessant need for expansion?

But what if this constant desire to want more material goods, the perpetual desire to compete for resources, to expand and grow externally without any boundaries is the root cause of many of our suffering. What if what we need to fulfill ourselves doesn’t lie outside in competition and material domination, but lies in witnessing and appreciating the beauty of what we already have. In being more gentle in our relationship with the external environment, in being more loving in our relationships with others, in appreciating and witnessing the beauty of mother earth and its many species.

james hillman desire
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It is no surprise that our greed has caused us many sufferings, not just in the form of wars, human exploitation, poverty, mental health issues (anxiety, stress) but has also crippled our planet and the many beautiful life-forms existing on it. James Hillman, a prominent American psychologist, argues in this interview, on the urgent need for us humans to change the objects of our desire. What if what we have been chasing so far as solutions to our problems, is something that is causing the problem to begin with.

What if we need to look inward, be more contemplative and moderate than just be plain hungry. James Hillman raises some radical questions:

Are humans really the most important species on this planet? Should we try to control and dominate nature or appreciate and live in harmony with it? Is the desire for money the root cause of many modern sufferings or is it greed? Are humans in-built to destroy themselves through their incessant need for expansion? Is psychology the treatment of the casualties of the capital market? These are some of the interesting and radical questions that are posed and answered in this fascinating interview. Watch it to understand this warning given by the late psychologist James Hillman, before it is too late.

About the Speaker

James Hillman (April 12, 1926 – October 27, 2011) was a prominent American psychologist. He was considered to be one of the most original psychologists of the 20th century. “Trained at the Jung Institute in Zurich, he developed Archetypal psychology. Hillman was a prolific writer and international lecturer as well as a private practitioner” [1].

“He was a dedicated subversive – witty and original – and an heir to the Jungian tradition, which he reimagined with unceasing brilliance. Fiercely critical of America’s dedication to the pursuit of happiness, Hillman focused on the darkest and most difficult human experiences – illness, depression, failure and suicide – not merely as abnormal pathologies that should be avoided or cured” [2].

Excerpts from James Hillman Interview

Well money, it’s not money’s fault no no, I don’t want to blame our tragedy on money, it could be something profound in human nature which is greed or expansionism or growth, some strange factor, maybe we are a virus in the whole system.

 Think something more is needed than the idea of sustainability I think sustainability is faulted for one big reason it’s still somehow an economic idea and I think economics as I’ve been trying to say for some time, there’s an insane faith that justifies everything we do, we do it because we justify what we do and we explain what we do in terms of economics let us set that aside. What would make you want not to destroy something would be your sense your appreciation of its beauty if we start with the world as a beautiful.

The rage to do, the rage to do, to make to expand to take hold to own to possess is that only a Western Drive or is that an all human Drive?

This concludes the curated interview of James Hillman on the object of our desire. James Hillman warns us that our desire and greed need to be moderated, otherwise it might be detrimental for the society and enivironment.

Watch our other curated interview on What is Real Kundalini Meditation?


  1. Website: Psychology Wiki (James Hilman)
  2. Website: James Hillman Obitutary, The Guardian
  3. Website: TreeTV / N2K Need to Know, Youtube Channel [link]

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