I believe that Janus's double-faced nature also symbolizes much of what goes on when we engage in creative thinking, that is, seeing something in more than one way. I love how the Nobel prize winning physician Albert Szent-Gyorgyi describes creative discovery:
the same thing as everyone else
and thinking something different.
When we tap into our "Janus-like" powers, it's as though we use one head to "look at the same thing as everyone else," and the other head to be creative and "think something different."
When we think like Janus, we take something out of a familiar context and then think about it in other contexts so that it takes on fresh new meanings. Human beings have been using their imaginations in this way since the beginning.
- The first person to look at an oyster and think "food" did this.
- So did the first person to look at a ship's sail and think "windmill."
- As did the first person to look at sheep intestines and think "guitar strings."
- And the first person to look at a perfume vaporizer and think "gasoline carburetor."
- And the first person to look at baby's urea and think "skin moisturizer."
- And the first person to look at a trapeze safety net and think "trampoline."
- And the first person to look at Internet searches and think "advertising medium."
Do you have these Janus-like powers? Well, if you've ever
used a pen as a weapon, or a potato as a radio antenna, or a T-shirt as
a tourniquet, or a telephone book as a booster seat, then the answer is
a resounding "Yes!"
So, this month, every time you see or hear the word "January," think to yourself:
imagination and think something different."
Have a good month!