How to Be Free
Author: Joe Blow

Chapter 14
The Scary Side of the Imagination

When we allow the imagination to run free we may find that it throws up some frightening ideas.

In our repressed, i.e. armoured, state we repress most of our angry feelings and much of our sexuality. So when the imagination wanders off the safe path of our disciplined ways of thinking about ourselves, it is bound to bump into aggressive and sexual images and thoughts. The higher our standards of behaviour, the more of these things we will find. We all experience frustration when things donít go our way. Either we express ourselves angrily or we repress those hostile feelings. Likewise, we all have erotic feelings. Since our original sexuality was unstructured, these feelings††wonít necessarily be limited to those that fit with our concept of proper behaviour for a person of our sexual orientation. We try to live out any sexual feelings we feel are appropriate. It is the inappropriate feelings which get repressed. So finding thoughts in our imagination which we might consider to be depraved or monstrous, is not an indication that we are depraved or monstrous, but an indication that we are not. A depraved or monstrous individual would have done those things.

What can make these thoughts particularly scary is that they tend to crystallise lots of repressed feelings into something extreme. So restraining ourselves from punching someone in the nose, if repeated twenty times, might crystallise in our imagination as a thought of taking a machine gun and committing mass murder. And repressed anger and sexuality could cross-fertilise into violent sexual fantasies.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the thoughts that arose unbidden in my mind which gave me the most trouble was that of killing a baby. Clearly I had been repressing a lot of anger at the time. My conscience was particularly oppressive, so this is likely.

But the solution to this problem is to learn to accept that even terrible thoughts are only thoughts. Humour can be very helpful in achieving this. Now I can imagine playing football and using an infant as a ball. This is so ludicrous that it makes me realise the difference between thoughts and actions.

 

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