Today, I ventured out to the local You-Know-What “superstore.” I wouldn’t have
journeyed there myself, but Mrs. Zeteticus wanted to go because of the
“low prices.” Walking in, I thought about the people who have been
brainwashed into thinking that this establishment is the best place to shop. I
suppose it depends on what sort of shopping atmosphere you prefer. Me, I
would be perfectly happy at the local hippie grocery. The prices may be
a little higher, but so what? The quality is much better. The people
working there are actually polite most of the time. Hippies love
everybody, even one such as I. The store has soul, whereas
the employees at the superstore seem to be totally devoid of intelligence,
civility, and soul.
You may notice I use the word, “soul,” a lot
in my writings. I am in agreement with James Hillman’s idea of soul,
which goes like this:
By soul I mean, first of all, a
perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint toward things rather
than a thing itself. This perspective is reflective; it mediates events
and makes differences between ourselves and everything that happens.
Between us and events, between the doer and the deed, there is a
reflective moment — and soul-making means differentiating this middle
It is as if consciousness rests upon a self-sustaining
and imagining substrate — an inner place or deeper person or ongoing
presence — that is simply there even when all our subjectivity, ego,
and consciousness go into eclipse. Soul appears as a factor independent
of the events in which we are immersed. Though I cannot identify soul
with anything else, I also can never grasp it apart from other things,
perhaps because it is like a reflection in a flowing mirror, or like the
moon which mediates only borrowed light. But just this peculiar and
paradoxical intervening variable gives one the sense of having or being
soul. However intangible and indefinable it is, soul carries highest
importance in hierarchies of human values, frequently being identified
with the principle of life and even of divinity (Re-Visioning
I can tell you flatly that what Hillman
is referring to does not exist at the superstore. It is empty and lifeless.
It is yet another temple to the god of mammon. The swarms of oddballs who frequent the store make me anxious and nervous. The check-out people
are rude and obnoxious folks, who I feel sorry for because their lives
are soulless. It is very sad because I realize these people must make a living somehow.
The woman who checked us out stared glassy-eyed at the
items she was scanning. She moved slowly, as if in a daze. When she
tried to speak, her lips moved but no sounds emanated. I realized I was
experiencing a mindless specter, a zombie.
Obviously, a Jungian-inclined thinker would say that a zombie is a Shadow symbol. It may very well be, but what does that tell us? I would rather concentrate on the notion that a zombie is a human that possesses no soul. Our culture is full of them. My question to you, dear reader, is how do we help them find Soul?
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