The Image Sphere

One of the fallacies of the Modern Era is the belief that the images and ideas that we expose ourselves to do not matter.  In my last article I talked about speech and thought and I previously wrote an article about the television.  The ideas addressed in these articles relate to the broader subject of our Image Sphere.

fantasia-gardensOur Image Sphere consists of the things we are exposed to.  What we see, what we read, what we hear, what we think, what we dream, what we imagine, all of these become a part of our Image Sphere.

In the West, we are taught that the only things that are “real” are those things that we can experience with our senses, with instruments that enhance our senses, or things that can be logically derived or inferred from sense data through reason.  This belief is an aberration of the post Enlightenment period in the West.  Metaphysically, the world we can experience with our senses is only a small portion of the entire cosmos, or the sublunary sphere.  Above that sphere is the Lunary Sphere.  For a more detailed explanation of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, you can see a previous article I wrote on the Apple Seed on this subject here.

Our personal Image Spheres are part of the larger Lunary Sphere.  Also in the Lunary Sphere are all of the images that are created everywhere in the world.  When you think about all of the material that is currently on television and the Internet, it is a rather frightening thought.  Ever since the mid-1960’s, starting with the West and spreading Eastward, society has entered into a downward spiral, or a Tamasic Guna.  In some Deanic and Filianic groups, this is known as the Eclipse.  In the Eclipse, the collective Image Sphere we are exposed to has become poisonous.  The three main poisons, atomization, deracination, and deformation are discussed in detail here.  Atomization is the severing from the community and other people, or rampant individualism.  Deracination is severing from tradition, or our roots.  Deformation is the inversion of values, or the creation of deliberately ugly or disturbing images.  The term deracination can also be used to refer to all three poisons collectively.  We are exposed to these poisons on a constant basis all of the time, in the clothing people wear, in what we watch on television, in what we are exposed to on the Internet, and in almost everything we do.

In The Feminine Universe, Miss Alice Lucy Trent writes:

Modern people are generally very careful about what they put into their mouths.  They will not normally pick up any interesting edible thing from the street and swallow it; but no similar caution is exercised over what they put into their minds, and indeed, the concept of mental hygiene is one that takes a considerable adjustment in our whole way of thinking.  Everything in a Tamasic world is strongly against it.  Everything encourages us to think that we can see, hear, and mentally ingest anything without any particular consequences; and that we should, therefore, make a practice of mentally ingesting whatever comes our way.

The reader may think that I am talking about the usual complaints about the media, too much violence, swearing, or s*xual content.  Those are problems to be sure, but those are just the tip of the iceberg.  Just as problematic, if not more so, are the clothing, manners, and general demeanor shown.  We live in a world of 24 hour a day news cycles, with stations like Fox News and MSNBC poisoning us with and fueling the constant political conflict in the United States.  Even those shows that seem wholesome, like children’s media, portray a world that is dangerous, where innocence is punished and where those in authority are not to be trusted.  Indeed, media is criticized if it too nice, lacks conflict, or does not show enough moral ambiguity.   There is a very interesting article on this subject, Guilty Pleasures and Conscience Inversion.

The reader may be thinking that the solution is to do political action to change the media.  Indeed, there are many groups from the Far Right to the Far Left, and every group in between, working to influence the media.  As an aside, the attention paid to the media by these groups belies the idea that what we see does not matter.  If it did not matter, there would not be so much strife and political action surrounding the subject.  The problem with political action though, is that political action is in itself poisonous.  It embroils us in the world of overbalanced conflict and strife.  Nothing in this article or in my philosophy would dispute with those who feel moved or called in the direction of social change; however, this is not necessary to clean up our own Image Spheres, and is likely counter-productive to our goal.

Aunt BeeCleaning our own Image Spheres does make a difference.  Every person is a microcosm of the cosmos, and our own personal Image Spheres impact the larger Lunary Sphere.  A simple way of cleaning our Image Spheres is to carefully consider the media we ingest, what we read, what we watch, and what we link to on the Internet.   In the The Feminine Universe, Miss Trent suggests both avoiding poisonous media and purposefully ingesting positive media.  Miss Trent suggests media from the Rajastic Period immediately preceding the Eclipse, or prior to the mid-1960’s.  Another more recent place to find good, healthy media is from Japan.  One still must be careful, particularly with modern Japanese media, in that there is heavy Tamasic Western infiltration into Japanese media; however, there is still wonderful media to be found, if one is careful.

One of the advantages of recent times is the availability of the Internet, which gives us access to wonderful, good, healthy media if we take the time to find it.  With Netflix and online streaming, one can have relative freedom from the shows that are currently made on television and cable.

Miss Trent warns though, that it is not enough to ingest good media and to avoid bad media to cleanse our Image Spheres.  We must do so with understanding.  For example, one can watch a 1950’s show and think of it as an “old movie,” which has nothing to do with our modern world.  One can watch Anime in the Magic Girls genre and think that it is all just fluff.  In either case, these shows will do little to change our Image Spheres.  It is necessary to watch them with understanding and with an intent to absorb the wonderful examples of femininity, beauty, innocence, and a clear sense of right and wrong.  We can also watch them for the way people dress, behave, and look at the world.

When I was first taking the journey of cleansing my personal Image Sphere, I lamented at giving up favorite television shows.  A wise person suggested not worrying about giving up anything, but to start with ingesting healthier media.  I found as I began ingesting healthier media, my taste for unhealthy media started to fade.  I still occasionally watch a modern cooking show or two with my spouse, but I have found that there is very little in modern media that I can tolerate anymore.

In addition to cleansing our personal Image Spheres, we can also pay attention to what we are putting out in the communal Image Sphere.  With the many available forms of social media, including blogging, the Image Sphere has become democratized to a large extent.  While we may not be able to control what others put on the Internet, we can be careful of what we put on it.  We can avoid foul language and ugly and disturbing images and instead write with polite language and share beautiful and lovely images.

For further mediation on this subject, I will end this article with words from feminine Scripture:

Thoughts of the mind pass not away, nor vanish into air.

For every thought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you.

Thoughts of beauty and of things of the Spirit refine and purify the soul, making her fair to look upon and graceful in her movements,

Uniting her with the universal music of eternity and gathering about her the servants of the Janyati.

But harsh thoughts harden the soul; coarse thoughts coarsen the soul; thoughts bound only to the tings of clay burden the soul with heavy chains.

My children, I speak not in pictures, for truly these things are; and to be seen by all whose eyes may pierce the veil of illusion.

What maiden, receiving of her mother a fine and well made house of well-wrought oak and stone and furnished by the skilful hand of love, will break the walls and furnishings, pour filthy waters into every place and bring swine to dwell in the most splendid chambers?

Will she not rather bring new things of beauty and precious works of love to add to those that lie already there?

Will she not keep away all dirt and defilement and protect it from all harm?

Pleasant Speech

Many of us have heard the phrase from our mothers and grandmothers, “If you can not say anything nice, do not say anything at all.”  I think that this is a time honored statement of good manners that has been largely forgotten in this day and age.

A couple of months ago, I took a trip to Mexico to visit a dear friend.  There were many things that struck me about Mexico in comparison to the United States.  One of the things that struck me was how little people complained in Mexico.  Of course, it could be that people were really complaining, and I did not catch it because I do not speak Spanish, but I rarely got the impression from people’s facial expressions or tone of voice that they were complaining.  In contrast, when I came back to the States, I was shocked by how much complaining I saw, even on my the first day back.

Another bad habit I have noticed all around me is the habit of swearing.  People nowadays seem to use swear words as if they were ordinary nouns and adjectives.  I will admit that there was a time in which I too had that bad habit, but I think that I have mostly stopped that now.  It is particularly disturbing to see how much swearing there is on the Internet in social media.  It is one thing to shout an expletive in a moment of emotion such as shock, pain, or anger.  It is still not good, but it seems like a more forgivable indiscretion.  Yet, when one posts in the Internet, one has the opportunity for reflection and thoughtful consideration before hitting the “post” or “send” button, and of course, anything we put on the Internet is available to be viewed forever by anyone in the world.  Why would one want to show oneself to be foulmouthed in this context?

As a contrast, I was thinking of a video education series I watched a few years ago, The Story of Human Language.  It seems that many traditional cultures have a High and a Low Language, and some even have a Middle Language.  According to the professor, it is a huge challenge for linguists to capture the Low Language, because the minute traditional people know that they are being recorded for study, they are too embarrassed to use Low Language, and they will switch to speaking in the High Language.

I think that some of the reason for the prevalence of complaining and swearing in the Modern West is part of a larger decline in civilization and because people have forgotten their nature as spiritual beings.  Very few people go to church or are involved in any spiritual community, and even the leaders of spiritual communities do not really understand the power of speech anymore.

In the New Age movement, and in modern psychology, there is the concept of “Positive Thinking,” which is basically using our thoughts to bring to us what we want out of life.  Despite this, there are many who subscribe to these notions, yet are still sloppy with their speech in terms of complaining and swearing.

As a Filianist, I do believe that our speech does matter.  Metaphysically, everything that we say, think, and imagine is real in the Lunary Sphere of existence.  While I think that the notion of “Positive Thinking” is rather oversimplistic, what we do in the Lunary Sphere can and does impact the physical world.  When we swear and complain, we are polluting the Lunary Sphere.  The pollution of the Lunary Sphere is far, far more damaging to our souls than the pollution of the physical air is to our bodies.

This concept is better expressed in the feminine Scriptures, in the Sutra, Thoughts of the Mind,

20.  Forget not the power of words, for a word has all the power of a thought and a thought has power to move the earth and the heavens.

21.  Therefore speak not evil in idleness, nor fall into the custom of ill speaking; but govern your words even as your actions.

22.  Speak words of love and innocence, of mildness and of hope, and you shall weave a raiment of peace about your soul, and a veil of gentle light.

There are those who might read this and think to themselves that this is all well and good, but should not one be honest about negative feelings and thoughts?  Is it not wrong to speak polite words, if one is thinking negative thoughts?  I think the answer to this is that I believe that our thoughts are more complicated than we think they are.  I know, for myself, I often have negative thoughts, but I do not know that these negative thoughts always represent my true thoughts and feelings.

In the Modern West, there is a culture that teaches that the negative parts of ourselves and of others are what is “real,” and that when people are being nice and good, they are hiding something.  My own belief is that this is reversed.  The Real part of us is the part that is good and kind, and the False part of us is the ugly part.  For more discussion of this, you can refer to a previous article I have written for the Apple Seed, True and False Selves Through the Zodiac.

When I go through a day, many thoughts go through my head, like little birds.  Both negative and positive thoughts about situations and people flit past, sometimes at the same time about the same person or situation.  If I subscribe to the cultural belief that the negative thoughts are my “real feelings,” and the positive ones are “making excuses” or “holding back,” I will hold on to the negative thoughts and feelings and dismiss the positive ones.  Yet, why would my negative thoughts be any more “real” than my positive ones?  If I understand that often my negative thoughts and feelings are that of my False Self, and the positive, loving thoughts and feelings are those of my True Self, I can let the negative thoughts and feelings flit away, and I can hold on to the positive thoughts and feelings.  In doing so, I am being very honest when I speak kind and loving words to others, even as I am ignoring the whispers and complaints from my False Self.

Proud HorseAs I say this, I know that I am far from perfect.  As in the other areas of my life where I am making changes, I have a long way to go.  In another Sutra, The Clew of the Horse, it says:

58. Hard to govern is the mind, like to a proud horse that drinketh of the wind, filled with its own desires. 59. Fain would it draw the rain from thy hand and carry you where it will; fain will it take the body for its mistress. 60.  Like to a bird that doth hop from twig to twig, turning first to one fruit, then to another, without control or constancy.

Even so, I believe that it is a worthwhile endeavor to strive to control our words and our speech, or to follow the time honored quote I mentioned above, “if you can not say anything nice, do not say anything at all.”  If my thoughts are kind and loving, I can move them out into the world with my words.  If my thoughts are not kind and loving, I can let them pass as a flitting bird, without giving them more substance through my words.

See also:

The Cursing Ape