Saturday, September 01, 2018

finding the right work is like discovering your own soul in the world

--- Thomas Moore, in Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life (1994)

Quote in context, p. 186:
When it is not possible to feel good about our work, then soulful pride, so necessary for creativity, turns into narcissism. Pride and narcissism are not the same thing; in a sense, they are opposites. Like Narcissus, we need to be objectified in an image, something outside ourselves. The products of our work are like the image in the pond—a means of loving ourselves. But if those products are not lovable, we are forced into a narcissistic where we lose sight of the work itself and focus on our own personal needs. Love of the world and our place in it, attained largely by our work, turns into solipsistic craving for love. Work becomes narcissistic when we cannot love ourselves through objects in the world. This is one of the deeper implications of the Narcissus myth: the flowering of life depends upon finding a reflection of oneself in the world, and work is an important place for that kind of reflection. In the language of Neoplatonism, Narcissus discovers love when he finds that his nature is completed in that part of his soul that is outside himself, in the soul of the world. Read in this way, the story suggests that we will never achieve the flowering of our own natures until we find that piece of ourselves, that lovable twin, which lives in the world and as the world. Therefore, finding the right work is like discovering your own soul in the world.