On The True Power of Images in Television and Cinema
It's been several month since I watched any form of concentrated image-presentation. Television and cinema, have been avoided, and online art and the Thoth tarot cards are the most intense form of eye-pleasure I have experienced for the last few months.
The outcome of a seriees of evocations to produce poems was this key insight:
IMAGES EVOKE FORCES.
Understand that all image is a evoked and living art-being. Experience of this knowledge ensures that the passive consumer style relationship with media cannot continue. Everything, I repeat, is evocational; but images more so.
No surer evidence of this deepening awareness of the divine source of image is my experience of reading and movies.
I am reading Plato's Timaeus and Tolstoy's War and Peace; these works would not have much of their depth if I had been filling my head with junk imagery. As it is, the piercing and luminous intensity of Tolstoy and the utter simplicity of Plato's genius would not be clear enough to me for a real awareness of them, if my mind were not hungry for imagery.
Tonight however I sat down to watch the last two-thirds of the movie The Rock. I deeply respect this movie for its sublime evocations of patriotism, freedom, and the presentation by Sean Connery of the dilemmas of moral freedom in the social outcast, inadvertently evoking the Trickster archetype in the process. However I was unprepared for the impact of this film on me tonight.
As I watched the shower room scene, which fulfills the premise of duty versus morality implied in the opening sequence of the film, I surprised myself by bursting into tears at the intensity of the images. The sight of the young soldier climbing out of the gutter to die alongside his comrades in a useless battle could not be contained in my eye alone but burst its bounds and flooded my heart with astonishment and grief...
For some images the eye alone is not adequate. The eye must be empty of past impressions so that the image pierces us all the way to the heart. To treat such images as entertainment is to insult the human heart. By watching television and enduring a thousand such shocks of inadequate emotion to the eye, the mind eventually breaks into a mad babble of words, unable to process the intensity of the images without the aid of the heart. This accounts in large part for the misery of chemical depression in the TV-watching West.
The soul is at the same time overfed and undernourished by television. We feed on the sickly flickering light until the mound of white maggots on the couch forget they were a coherent person and become the eyeless eaters in the dark, impervious to hurt or human aim.
If anyone doubt this diagnosis, let him consume three cups of white sugar and sit in front of the tv for three hours. Then he will have no doubt.