Monday, December 24, 2012


And one of the particularly wrong functions, which we sometimes like in ourselves, is imagination. In this system imagination does not mean conscious or intentional thinking on some subject or visualisation of something, but imagination that turns without any control and without any result. It takes very much energy and turns thinking in a wrong direction.

Q. When you say 'imagination', do you mean imagining something to be true, not drawing pictures?

A. Imagination has many aspects; it may be just ordinary day-dreams or, for instance, imagining non-existent powers in oneself. It is the same thing, it works without control, it runs by itself.

Q. Each one is self-deception?

A. One does not take it as self-deception: one imagines something, then believes it and forgets that it was imagination. Studying man in his present state of sleep, absence of unity, mechanicalness and lack of control, we find several other wrong functions which are the result of his state—in particular, lying to himself and to other people all the time. The psychology of ordinary man could even be called the study of lying, because man lies more than anything else; and as a matter of fact, he cannot speak the truth. It is not so simple to speak the truth; one has to learn how to do it, and sometimes it takes a very long time.

Q. I was interested in the question of imagination. I suppose it means that in the ordinary application of the word one was using the wrong meaning?

A. In the ordinary meaning of imagination the most important factor is missed, but in the terminology of this system we begin with what is most important. The most important factor in every function is: 'Is it under our control or not?' So when imagination is under our control we do not even call it imagination; we call it by various names—visualization, creative thinking, inventive thinking—you can find a name for each special case. But when it comes by itself and controls us so that we are in its power, then we call it imagination.

Again, there is another side of imagination which we miss in ordinary understanding. This is that we imagine non-existent things—non-existent capacities, for instance. We ascribe to ourselves powers which we do not have; we imagine ourselves to be self-conscious although we are not. We have imaginary powers and imaginary self-consciousness and we imagine ourselves to be one, when really we are many different 'I's. There are many such things that we imagine about ourselves and other people. For instance, we imagine that we can 'do', that we have choice; we have no choice, we cannot 'do', things just happen to us.

So we imagine ourselves, really. We are not what we imagine ourselves to be.

Q. Is there any difference between imagination and day-dreaming?

A. If you cannot control day-dreaming, it means that it is part of imagination; but not all of it. Imagination has many different sides. We imagine non-existent states, nonexistent possibilities, non-existent powers.

Q. Could you give me a definition of negative imagination?

A. Imagining all kinds of unpleasant things, torturing oneself, imagining all the things that might happen to you or other people—things like that; it takes different forms. Some people imagine different illnesses, some imagine accidents, others imagine misfortunes.