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By James Hillman

Uniform variation of the Writings of James Hillman, quantity 9

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Then my husband said, “I think I’ll take a look,” and he turned the plane around until we saw the polar bear again, still sitting under water. When the dreamer is flying and piloted by her husband – what she is coupled with, to, by, in that syzygy – she looks down on the world as scenery. The scenery consists in the waters below, where there is a living animal. At first, the animal appears in the flying plane on the radar screen – an abstract kind of awareness of the bear in the flying, looking-down mind, which makes the husband say, “I think,” and to re-spect, that is, look again, by turning the plane around, revising his forward direction.

The dream stayed with her for years. This person, at the time of the dream, was a father’s daughter and sheltered wife entrapped in the Egypt of her material security from which she slowly began an ambitious Exodus by means of further education and profession. Another woman dreams: I am standing in our kitchen brushing my hair with my daughter’s hairbrush before the mirror. With each brush a large amount of hair is pulled out. I realize my hair has holes, open spots, in it. I wonder if it will grow in again.

The animals that, at first, seem stuffed with conceptual labels, available only for objective study, insensitive, dead, are actually suspended in the glass vessel of the psyche, in one’s actual “case”; and, if we step closer to this animal display, we, and they too, will be surprised to see that they are alive, and moving. The inevitable counter-impulse to callousness is sentimentality, which in regard to animals, especially its British moralists from the eighteenth century onward, reaches culmination – and another mode of degradation – in this twentieth-century prayer written for British Girl Guides: Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals … we bless thee that thou carest for the dumb creatures of the earth … especially for animals who are suffering; for all that are overworked and underfed … for all wistful creatures in captivity, which beat against the bars, for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry … 40 The degradation of pity still places the animal’s fate in human hands.

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