The Image Sphere

An extract from the chapter "Secrets of the Image-Sphere" in The Feminine Universe

Let us begin by considering precisely how the creation of a deformist society works. We can see that each broadcast programme, each manufactured artefact etc. is a brick within the entire edifice of the deformist whole. But exactly where is that whole constructed? Where does it exist?

The simple answer is: in the mind. First in the various individual human minds that have been exposed to the various symbolic expressions of deformism, and then in the group, or social, mind formed from the aggregation of those individual minds. Remember, all the symbols of deformism are statements that can only be interpreted by consciousness and the only unit of intelligent consciousness, according to the modern mentality, is the human mind. Of course the modern mentality is wrong, and there are other and much higher forms of consciousness than the individual human mind. But these higher forms of consciousness have nothing to do with deformism. So at the level at which the deformist project takes place, the human mind is the only unit of consciousness, and all that it does has its being in and through that consciousness.

Now every human consciousness exists in what we may term an image-sphere. By image-sphere we mean the form-world in which a consciousness exists: the things it sees, the things it believes to exist, the things it thinks about -- these are the world to that consciousness.

The deformist culture attains its ends by controlling the image-spheres of its individual subjects, and thereby controlling the group image-sphere of the whole society. With modern methods of mass-communication, it has become possible for small groups of people or moneyed interests to manipulate the image-sphere of an entire civilisation in a way that has never been possible in the past. In the past (that is, in the Rajasic period), the group image-sphere was like the city of London rather than a modern planned city. It consisted of various elements drawn from various times and places, some of it virtually unchanged since matriarchal times, some of it remaining from early patriarchal times, some of it instilled by the present dispensation of the moment and much of it lying at various points in between the ancient and the modern. It was not a whole, integrated image-sphere based on pure principle and directed upwards, as was the image-sphere of the purest Sattwic ages. But it was mostly a mixture of relatively healthy elements. This is in the nature of a Rajasic age, but in any case nothing else would really have been possible.

Only with the advent of means of communication capable of pumping a set of images derived from the minds of a small, highly-conditioned 'élite' into every home in the land, has it been possible to create and impose a completely artificial image-sphere upon whole populations. The total and arbitrary control of the group image-sphere of an entire civilisation is something new in history. Its very possibility is a technical novelty; but even so, it can only be effective with a deracinated people, who are easily prized loose from all the inherited images and realities which any traditional people retains within itself.

The total, artificial control of the image-sphere has become a reality. But it is still true that the individual image-sphere -- your image-sphere -- can only be controlled if you allow it to be.1

The question, then, is: how can one regain control of one's individual image-sphere?

First of all, one must become acutely conscious that the human psyche2 is an extremely sensitive thing. It is affected by everything it sees, hears and experiences. The Bhagavad Gita tells us that we become what we think about and that the soul after death is assimilated to the things upon which the mind dwelled during life. The Bible says "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he". This same wisdom is to be found throughout tradition.

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 the 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.

[. . .]

So our first step, before we do anything, is to begin adjusting ourselves to the idea that the psyche is a delicate and highly sensitive mechanism. Or to use a different metaphor, it is like a garden -- what grows there is what has been planted there. At present, the money-power of the Tamasic society, with its mass-media, its advertising agencies and its various permitted and promoted 'alternatives' has complete control over what is planted in the individual and collective image-spheres. If we wish to reclaim control of our image-sphere, we must learn to cultivate it -- to take conscious control over what is allowed into it, what is nurtured and encouraged, and what things it must be protected from.

The cultivation of the psyche and its image-sphere involves two things: planting and nurturing racinated and whole images and excluding deracinated and deformed ones. The psyche (or Sensitive Soul) feeds on images: and 'images', in this case, must be understood in the broadest possible sense, as including not only visual forms, but sounds, gestures, tones of voice, vocabulary, clothes and a thousand other things.

Where can racinated images be found? The first answer to this, for ourselves at present, must be: in the Rajasic world that immediately preceded the Eclipse. This is the first source of assimilable images. We may go back further and find truly traditional or Sattwic images, but they will not change our image-sphere, partly because they are too far from the everyday workings of our present consciousness and partly because they do not challenge the Tamasic world on its own level. Even if we do assimilate such images, they will not actually transform the image-sphere. We are certainly not speaking against the use of such images, only warning that they will not be effective used on their own.

The transformation of the image-sphere -- the driving-out of the Forces of Occupation from the psyche -- must be effected by the use of the image-sphere of the Rajasic world closest to us in point of time.

How do we gain access to this Rajasic image-sphere? Fortunately -- and indeed we believe, in the fullest sense of the word, providentially -- the motion picture came into being several decades before the collapse of civilisation, capturing the image-sphere of the late Rajasic society -- that is, of the Art-Neo restitution period -- in nearly all its main aspects, in a form easily and thoroughly assimilable and psychically very powerful. It is also providential that, owing to its 'popular' nature, the film has preserved for us almost solely the regenerative aspects of that period: atomisation, deracination and deformism being, at that time, chiefiy intellectuals' diseases.

The film, then, is one of the main instruments in the recapturing of the image-sphere, Using it skilfully and consciously, we may saturate the psyche with racinated images and begin to create a free and whole image-sphere.

By the skilful and conscious use of the Art-Neo cinema for this purpose we mean several things. In the first place, there is probably no better instrument for the recapturing of the shattered image of true femininity, but some people will fear that since these images come from the patriarchal era they must imply a patriarchal subordination of women. There are many possible answers to this problem, but the simplest and most practical is to point out that the approach of Aristasia, to which the present writer belongs, is to watch the films and racinate the psyche within the context of an all-female group and a very largely all-female image-world which acts as a potent counter-balance to the patriarchal nature of racinated cultural elements from the Rajasic world. Undoubtedly other solutions can be found. The point is that the problem is soluble and should not be allowed to stand in the way of the reclaiming of the image-sphere.

Furthermore, we shall find in these films images of feminine magnificence -- of the glorious and powerful qualities of femininity that belong to the feminine itself, and are not merely imitations of masculine strengths -- that cannot possibly be found anywhere in the inherently anti-feminine Tamasic world. Indeed, the whole concept of the 'subordination of women' in the Rajasic period, while not untrue, is a very limited and one-dimensional notion which sacrifices to crude, sub-Marxist socio-political reductionism all that was true and beautiful in the image and experience of femininity in this period, and concentrates all worth in masculine criteria of money and power. We shall find in these films the true majesty of femininity in its many forms, and as we learn to see them truly, we shall see with both joy and anguish what a treasury of feminine glory has been lost, forgotten and ploughed under in the last thirty years.

This must lead us on to wider considerations. How, precisely, can the Art-Neo cinema be used to effect a transformation in the image-sphere? Clearly simply watching the films is not in itself sufficient. After all, they are freely available and widely viewed in the post-Eclipse world without making the smallest difference to the collective or individual image-spheres. In the first place, the films must be watched as part of a wider programme of racination, and the intake of Tamasic material must be curtailed. We shall discuss these matters shortly. But more immediately, a willed act must be taken to see the films in a racinating way.

The reason racinated films have no noticeable racinating infiuence on those who watch them from the perspective of the Tamasic world is that they are, so to speak, enclosed within a neutralising sheath which prevents them from having any actual effect. This 'sheath' consists, first of all in placing the films firmly in 'the past', so that their very age is sufficient in the eyes of the majority to prevent their having any 'relevance to the present' and therefore any effect on the way one perceives the world. Then the films are enclosed within further layers of distancing reactions -- nostalgia, condescension, cynicism and, in general, the seeing of the film through the distorting-lens of post-Eclipse attitudes.

In short, one is unconsciously taking the Tamasic world as the standard against which the film must be judged, whereas, if we are to free ourselves from the grip of that world, we must take the Rajasic world represented by the film as the standard against which the Tamasic world is to be judged.

To do this, we must remove the film entirely from the patronising inverted commas of 'the past' and understand that it represents Reality here and now -- and, indeed the only glimpse of legitimate human reality to which we have access. We must see through the trick of 'relevance' and 'currency' which the Tamasic world and its money-power employs for the purpose of dominating our image-spheres. The image-sphere is filled with the things promulgated by the mass-media, news services and advertising agencies. They are what we surround ourselves with mentally because they are happening 'now', and therefore are 'real'. All they are, in fact, is the selection of manufactured reality which the system chooses to present us with. And because the system is all-encompassing in a way that no previous system has ever been, there is no alternative to accepting this unless we choose our images from areas over which the present regime has no control: in other words, from 'the past'.

The image of a public figure such as a film star, and the individual person upon which that image is based are two quite different things. The Tamasic world surrounds us with deracinated images which we are encouraged to accord a special immediacy because their prototypes are alive (and, of course, therefore obedient to the prevailing, manipulated ethos). In fact no image is inherently 'realler' than any other, and we may select any group of images we choose to populate our image-sphere.5

And yet, while we have said that no image is 'realler' than any other, we must realise that this is speaking on the purely 'horizontal' plane of the imaginative possibilities of the image-sphere. On the 'vertical' or spiritual plane, the images of the Rajasic, Art-Neo cinema are much realler in the essential sense -- they are nearer to true Reality because they have not wholly lost their connexion with the fundamental Archetypes that underlie all being.

In watching the films then, we must let go of the materialistic and superficial assumption that the passage of time is any criterion of reality, and know that in the most important sense what we are seeing is far realler than the Tamasic world about us, and represents the standard by which that world must be judged and the model from which our own re-racinated world shall (in part) be built.6

6. We shall no doubt hear the weary old argument that the Art-Neo film is an unrealistic and idealised representation of the society in which it is set. In reply we should say that we are not, for our present purposes, interested in social realities, but in images. And we are very happy to compare like with like -- that is, Rajasic films with Tamasic films, in which the Tamasic world has every opportunity to depict its image of itself rather than the social reality. We would say that the image is, if anything, rather nastier than the reality, which at least is modified by some remaining resistance from human goodness. Indeed, this is the salient point about the two types of society. One sets up an image above its present attainment-- more beautiful, more stylish, more kindly-with which it saturates its image-sphere and to which it aspires. The other sets up an image below its present attainment-- darker, more chaotic, more violent and atomised-- with which it saturates its image-sphere, and to which, whether it admit it or not, it aspires, and certainly grows continually closer. In fact, far from constituting an objection, if Rajasic films represent Ideals, surely that is precisely what we want, since we are using them to 'stock' our image-sphere and the more 'ideal' the material with which we stock it the better. Indeed, the Art-Neo film could profitably be a great deal more idealised than it is. However, we must bear in mind that the 'idealism' of the Art-Neo era is accidental rather than principled-- that is to say, based on healthy human taste rather than a conscious desire to represent the Archetypes, and we may be grateful to Providence that such a fine image-sphere of Rajasic idealism has been preserved for us so miraculously in the amber of the film.