Resurgence issue 213 – THE VIRTUES OF CAUTION by James Hillman

Illustration by Clifford Harper, woodcut like person contemplates landscape

Found this from the Pacifica site. I like the essay a lot. James Hillman does what he does so well that it is a work of art in its own right. Some of the luddite comes through, but that is a welcome antidote to crass technological excess.

More speed less haste. He seems to decry both. Here is an idea I am entertaining right now: Speed makes cyberspace visible. A subscription to a Journal was to be in a virtual community, a cyberspace, but the speed was too slow for us to see that, now in hindsight we can.

Here we must distinguish the moment of arrested movement from an identification with the arrest itself, as if beauty must stand still. But beauty, like caution, is not meant to stand still. The saying is not “Don¬ít leap,” but “Look before you leap.” Beauty means only for us to arrest for a moment the senseless insensitive forward thrust, in order to open the senses by inviting the aesthetic response. Then, as the arresting moment flees, the principle of precaution can incorporate into its innovative explorations an aesthetic awareness, insisting that any plan or project does not neglect the demand that beauty makes, or the deleterious effects of ugliness.

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