Inner images As a Resource for Life and Creativity – John Baldock

Creativity is not understood as a way of living and learning. For those few fortunate enough to have undergone creative development the rewards include a self confidence. This comes about by being energised by a energy available to everyone. The pioneer psychologist Carl Jung has described the energy as psychic energy which could also be described as life energy. This energy is associated with the formation of images. These images can be visual, musical, movement like dance or literature especially poetry. Jung describes images as the language of the psyche. All people are psychic to the extent they have a capacity for awareness. Awareness includes the macro outer world of facts and science or the micro world seen through a microscope.

This article will argue that the language of images is more precise and more powerful than word images that have multiple outside meanings entrust upon them. Some words in the dictionary have multiple possible meanings. This results in a world where everyone is talking but no one is listening. For example, the word God is taken by religious institutions to have a meaning which is unchanging. When taken as an image the meaning can change over time. For instance the word God is now taken as an absent God whose absence is seen as a void, an emptiness. Only an image can handle this through visual, sound, movement, taste and smell otherwise the void of the spoken word will cause anxiety or even depression.

Even the absent God still needs to be experienced and so it is argued that spoken word cannot be experienced. Everyone has a life to lead and so the richer the experience the better. Only image can supply this richness mainly through imagination. Words alone cannot cope. Image then is the basis for a new reality, a mystery so deep only a new and re-vitalised word language can deal with it. Such a process is called creative development. In this tradition, Carl Jung could say he didn’t believe in God but that he knew God. For this he was roundly condemned by orthodox word based religion.

Anyone can believe anything. In the world today some beliefs are quite bizarre yet people follow them. Here words can have multiple meanings. When the formation of images is exercised they become inner images that are true to the real person and operate as a rich and meaningful language at the individual level. Here the integrity of each individual becomes paramount and not the nation state with its ruler or dictator applying meaning top down.

Inner meaning is down up and is capable of re-vitalising word language. It is a source of truth and well being. Old patterns of responding to word only language, conditioned over time by authority are not easily replaced. New information like the language of images may easily vanish under stress. It is ironic that stress can come from well meaning parents, teachers and employment. People who rely completely for their knowledge coming from outside in may be vulnerable to depression and suicide. For self truth and wholeness to prevail, there is a need for change to the inner world of images like the dream. The arts are also a source of images, whether visual, sound, movement, poetry and performance as well as taste.

To learn this inner language, reflection, imagination and meditation need to be developed. These qualities may have atrophied under modern conditions. To develop them may be a hard task in a world of incessant noise. The outside world intrudes into consciousness and drives the dream away. Without the dream there can be no inner image. The dream may be a sleeping dream or a working dream and both need to be reflected.

The human ego acts in a way to banish the image, especially the inner image. It must control the process yet the dream will not be controlled. It comes as a gift coming from where it will. It is not a fantasy but rather a coded message for those who are open to its interpretations. Then the dream and its image will apply to each individual situation.

This is why painting as an art form is important to mental health wellbeing. It is a waking dream where the image points us points to the unconscious as a source of meaning. Painting therefore is an inside out activity rather than an outside in source of knowing.

Allowing inside out to influence us turns each experience into a sustained practical application. This is the essence of creative development where visualisation is the key to understanding and awareness. Visualisation is the way we think. Before words, images were.

The human brain program through its images. Words remains as abstract images invented at a human level. They can be subjective and thus hinder human communication. Inner images can be defined as formations of energy based on seeing, hearing, moving, taste and smell. They emerge by the free flowing energy that Jung called psychic energy.

Images form language whether subjective or objective and thus language forms concepts, thought processes and meaning. It results in activities like painting, music, sport and literature that not only communicate between people but also contribute to inner realisation.

As long as this process is denied either by indifference, ignorance or censorship, there will be endemic ill health that currently affects the Western world. Within this symbolic system of image whether word based or inner perception the image is the primary response to any event or experience. At first it is a somatic response and then an appropriate image. After that in our Western culture the outside learned verbal system tries to ascribe meaning but is generally

Art criticism tries to work this way in providing a verbal response to a visual object. It is like one language trying to interpret another. Art criticism persists because humans are stuck with only one verbal system, the word system which now doesn’t work. It is clumsy and cannot provide the nuance demanded for complex articulation. Only the symbolic system based on images can do that.

In both orthodox religion and orthodox psychology little or no value is placed on the symbolic system of images, especially inner images. Their earth bound words simple cannot articulate other realities such as the divine and the unconscious. They clearly fail in what they are supposed to do. The symbolic system only works when its power is invited into consciousness. It will never dictate as words are capable of doing. The central purpose of a symbolic language system is to contribute re-vitalised energy to abstract verbal thought. This will enhance communication within and without the life of each individual.

The end.


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