What brings people together? Is it science, is it religion or is it imagery. If you are good at creating images in the minds of others you have what it takes to create mass consciousness.
Religious leaders just as some politicos [and advertising executives!] have succeeded in doing this over the eons. But how does it work?
Think of it this way. Two equal minds (in their basic make-up) act just as two equal materials, but one manages to shape the other. Easter Islanders used small stone picks to shape masses of basalt into gargantuan statues. The trick was the pick moves faster than the parent stone -- it has more energy behind it!
I believe that by accelerating one's thoughts and projecting them outwards onto a massive structure (the consciousness of all, or to certain target groups if you like) an impression may be formed, an image, on the minds of others. There is skill required, and practice but it may be learned. The other thing to consider is why it is being done. Is it for control, or is it for empowerment, with appropriate respect for the sacredness of free will?
I give you this example. How do you motivate people to do a large project -- whether it may be building a pyramid or going to war?
There must be some image given as a focus (the pointy top of the pyramid!) or why would any one bother. Sometimes the image is based in fear and negativity (just watch the news -- or better yet, don't). Images of your country folk's property, people or lands being destroyed, taken or otherwise disrespected (even symbolically -- like burning a flag) can be sufficient to arouse ire to go to war.
Religious iconography is a masterful example of impressing others with tall buildings, beautiful (and/or sad) works of art, high decorated ceilings and imposing monoliths.
Each of us is just as worthy of respect and admiration.
Even if we have not been crucified!
Wasn't that what he was trying to tell us..
But we need to look at why any one would want any one else to be moved by these things. Do they uplift, or do they cause the opposite, cowering, huddling servitude and mindless obedience?
Here's another image for you. If I told you your period of compulsory servitude (i.e. slavery) was over -- and you were now free -- to work for me (doing the same thing -- pyramid building for example) for gold coins, I wonder if you would work just as hard as before. Harder, more likely. I wouldn't have to feed or shelter you either, because you were now free to buy whatever you needed/wanted.
Good deal for some one -- but is it you? Pyramids get built faster. Slaves who are freed in this way cannot actually revolt. (Until the strike is invented.. much later.)
So an image does in fact have the power to enslave -- albeit in a deceptive fashion, as it appears to be the very offer of freedom. The harder you work, the more gold coins you will get, and then you can do whatever you like!
Lotteries are clever this way too. A pot of gold awaits at the end of the rainbow, and by forfeiting some of your coinage you have a chance to get it. The image of a large pile of gold coins can even make you part with a few actual gold coins in your hand!
The two main motivating forces in humanity today seem to be love and money. However, imagery can re-direct the first toward the second (love of money). And thus we have a major mistake in the creation of imagery that can lead us astray for generations (past, present and future) if we allow it to.
Other mistakes that may occur in image creation lie in the direction of man's perception of the divine. On the one hand we like to analyse, to take living things that work, break them apart and kill them to get dead things that don't work, so we can find out what does make them work. We identify their pieces and their pedigree (their provenance, where they come from). [Such as shooting flocks of birds like Audubon did to help identify new species hitherto unknown to us.]
Here's what makes them work -- life!
So we have been told we were created in god's image. Then we turn around and create gods in our own image (human forms with gender). But what if we misunderstood what image meant? What if it referred to our spiritual essence (something we might share with our creative source) and not to our physical bodies. (So our creative source is not actually incarnate, as are we.) Here is a colossal mistake that can and has been made.
Some cultures have gone to great lengths to prevent this mistake -- such as the desert religions. Judaism prohibits the worship of graven images. Islam had rules about copying the human form in art, that's why mosaics have been used extensively in their secular and sacred decorations. It is ok to know the mind of god through mathematics (wonderful geometric creations) but not through the depiction of our own bodies.
However, that may be too far in the other direction. I don't see how it is disrespectful to god to own our own creative abilities -- if after all -- we are of the same stuff as god then can we not too create? As long as we are conscious of the fact that god is not subject to physical constraints of form as are we. And that it makes more sense to treasure the god within, than some created -- 3D -- imagery that supposedly represents a god that is more worthy of respect than are we as individuals.
So keep creating -- but do it with awareness! I've become aware by doing these posts -- with embedded images -- of the power of pictures to affect emotions. And I know I need to be careful that what I present (and re-present) reflects the truth of the situation I am describing. It is possible to be seduced by an image and to choose it because you like it, even though it's not exactly correct.
Example -- Right to Local Self Determination post. I've left a few clues (and I'm telling you now). The image of the mountain range on the border of Mexico that's dry neighbouring a green irrigated field. Well the range runs North-South (seen in aerial map nearby in the post) so it is not the border. But does it not arouse feelings of indignation at the injustice and arrogance of power that can create haves and have-nots in such a graphic fashion? [I've attached the website and often the source filename to the filename of photos I've used, so if you copy the images you will see where they come from.]
I am not immune from the occasional misuse of an image. There may be other examples.. So I encourage you to look within yourself when confronted by an image of any type that moves or inspires you (in any direction) (whether you consider it positive or negative).
In closing, we can see countless examples of how images have brought people together. Whether it be political (parties are a great example of what I am talking about) religious ('nuff said) or economic aspirations (ditto). But I ask is there not a difference between unity and uniformity? Soldiers wear uniforms, some employees do too. To me unity is about cooperativity, solidarity and mutual moral (and practical) support. Uniformity speaks to me of conformity and mindless adherence to established norms -- that some one may have originally created as an image to serve their own ends.
We must examine the soup of images we find ourselves immersed in today. To take our rightful places as truly creative human beings (gods with arms -- and legs) we must master the skilful, conscious and empowering creation of the image. Why not uplift one another for a change?