(A previously published work in D’Hour)
by Lim Kai Ning & Florence Leung
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
It is disputable if the art of imagination has got anything to do with how you feel. They call those with imagination – eccentric, crazy, airy-fairy, daydreamer, unrealistic… and so on. I do agree, actually, that perhaps part of how we feel and behave is based on the amount of imagination we have. Reality is not always kind, but how is it that some people manage to see the kind side of everyone, or the good part of the story? Perhaps having overly vivid imagination will tip you over, and you find that you can’t seem to find a neutral ground to stand on. You exaggerate your stories, see exciting events in slow motion, and believe that you have the ability to talk to trees and carrots. But a large part of being imaginative is that you see what is possible, the unknown. You see this particular someone in yourself which others don’t see in you. You see your second self.
I think this concept of second self came from Carl Jung, a Swiss psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Carl Jung had two personalities, and he strongly believed that everyone had the same. His first personality was the ordinary, mundane and dependent, with his banal, mediocre, conventional rational outer reality and intense inferiority feelings. But his second personality was the exact opposite: mature, powerful, wise, superior, autonomous, instinctual, spiritual, mystical, irrational and deeply rooted in nature. Without a little imagination, who would have found such an immense world deep within? Laden with introspective tendencies, I believe that Jung found more joy looking inwards than at the world. Looking at his photos, I would never have imagined that there were thoughts that were so deep, so powerful, going on in his head. He looked… normal, you know? So then I thought about what he said, that everyone had dual personalities, and I started to believe in what he said. No. 2 personality was Jung’s original experience and conceptualization of the “other”, his soul, his essential, innate, true self. The congenital daimon (from Latin daemon – ‘spirit’) was a representative of his higher self, his guardian angel. And Jung explained, “I have trouble getting along with my ideas. There was a daimon in me, and in the end its presence proved decisive. It overpowered me, and if I was at times ruthless it was because I was in the grip of the daimon. A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.”
So there you see, whether you think it is good or not, imagination helps you find you. It may be that we are all the same outside – uninteresting, perhaps even gossipy, but the true self is only found when you look within. As we celebrate how we are all different (maybe in hairstyles or the way our laughter climaxes at different points), let us celebrate our true differences. Find yourself.
(photo courtesy of deviantart)