One of these days, I sent this image, with the caption: “I most certainly did”, to some friends. Then, I wondered whether to live other people’s [fictional] lives means I was not living mine.
Firstly, because I also live my own life; then, because it goes way beyond the literal reading of the quote.
Experience is all that matters, of course. However, for the brain, there’s no difference between living a de facto experience and living it in our imagination.
Experiences we cannot live, for being criminal, for instance.
Neurosciences already said that, for the brain, the emotions arising from the experience we are imagining are as real as the ones we experience de facto. One just have to think about how our heart reacts when we watch a suspense movie, for instance.
In life, we are constrained all the time. Not in our imagination, though.
Also, there are numerous psychic advantages in the use of imagination. The best examples I can remember are Tarantino and Stephen King. Any of them would be in jail for life, if they attempted to do what they create in real life.
Notwithstanding, by living it during the creative process, in their imagination, such psychic content is removed from the shadow and integrated in the consciousness, the ego accepts the existence of the possibility. Which relieves the psyche. It also solves complexes, which content was released from the unconscious, no longer threatening the ego with its psychic autonomy, as all complexes do.
On the other hand, in our imagination, via symbols and what they awake in us, we also live the sublime, feeling whole, touched by the divine, in total connection with our soul, living the numinous. As it happens when we are touched by a song, a vision of nature, an object, a movie, a character, a book.
The other day, all I needed was to get in Hotclube, see a piano, the light over the stage, the cosiness of the room, to feel completely at peace, which normally happens when we feel truly whole.
It’s not always a bed of roses. The most recent Biography of Hermann Hesse: The Wanderer and his Shadow, has been hard to grasp and a voracious reading, at the same time. Similarities, sometimes in small details, are so much and so accurate it is scary. We’re definitely in the presence of an archetype.
And there’s nothing more real than this: existential identification.
Even if Hesse, maybe because he was a man, was more radical than me, the sole difference is that Hermann Hesse had already written five books by the age of 23. Peanuts…
We live a million stories, including ours.