This imaginative, compelling, and always thought-provoking volume turns all of our conventional ideas about aging upside down revealing their emptiness, folly, and disrespectfulness. James Hillman, founder of archetypal psychology and the best-selling author of The Soul's Code, successfully fulfills his daring mission — to "decouple death from aging, and instead restore the ancient link between older age and the uniqueness of character." Here is an antidote to the plethora of wrong-headed health books about how to achieve longevity and be forever young. In three bold sections — lasting, leaving, and left — Hillman shows how our characters are enriched, deepened, and made meaningful by long life.
Character, according to the author, "has been forming your face, your habits, your friendships, your peculiarities, the level of your ambition with its career and its faults. Character influences the way you give and receive; it affects your loves and your children. It walks you home at night and can keep you long awake." Hillman celebrates the long lasting life as a chance to review the years, to make amends, to transform memories into stories, to revel in the input of the senses, to connect with the ancestors, to mentor the young, to speak out against injustice, and to heal the planet. Here the term "old" both brings out character and gives character. No wonder ancient civilizations bestowed honor and respect on elders, crones, matriarchs, and patriarchs.
In one of the most stunning sections of the book, Hillman presents a soulful reframing of qualities and habits of the long-lived that have been traditionally seen as dreadful and debilitating, such as repetition, waking at night, muddled agitation, drying up, short-term memory loss, heightened irritability, erotics, and heart failure. "Some of what I mean by 'force of character' is the persistence of the incorrigible anomalies, those traits you can't fix, can't hide, and can't accept." The unfolding of character finds a place for all the unmentionables of old age.
Read this revolutionary book and spread the word about it. Let Hillman change your ideas about long life, which he sees as a laboratory for the refining of character. Best of all, open your heart to aging as an adventure into many new lands that are waiting to be discovered and explored.