Images have acquired extremely important role in the modern world. We know more people by their images rather than as an individual. People do everything to change their image, built their image and maintain a good image. If your image becomes outstanding, you tend to acquire the status of a “celebrity” who are like living Gods in the modern world. Therefore, images are everywhere in different shapes and forms. From the TV channels who displays thousands of images of so called celebrities like politicians, film stars, sports stars and even journalists. People have more trust in these celebrities than the people they know well like their parents, children or their spouses.
Most people can not distinguish image from reality. They take the image of the person as reality and build their personality from their own imagination. The personality woven around the image is so perfect that they fail to appreciate the real people whom they know. They find the real people imperfect while their ideal person lives only in their imagination.
When we know the complete personality of a human being, we may not like all facets of his or her personality. A real person is unpredictable. His mood changes every moment and he do not behave in the manner as we expect them to behave. Images are much better as they never change and never go against our expectation. So when we only have the image of the celebrity, the unpleasant aspects are hidden from our eyes and there we find a perfect person.
However, images are quite deceptive as they are only two dimensional and taken from only one angle. There is no way to know the complete person from an image as all other facets of the person lies completely hidden from the eyes. Despite our best attempt, we just can’t see the full person whose image is before our eyes.
The real person is however, visible from all angles. We see the image of a person from thousands of angle and yet we recognize the person as we know that there is only one person behind all these images. Our minds have the capability to synthesize these images and form the real person with full personality in our mind.
As God has been just, he has not made any man either full of virtues or full or evil. In fact the good and evil are put together in every person in almost same proportions. Hence one who knows a person often get disappointed as even a genius person is not free from defects and on the average, he may not be better than any other person.
It is not unusual to notice that all celebrities would like to be photographed only in a certain pose because they know that they are photogenic only from few angles. They would also like to be photographed with only certain outfits because they know that they looked best with those outfits and people want them only in such outfits.
These outfits may vary. While some people may like to display their branded cloths as a mark of their riches, others like Gandhi may hardly wear any cloth in order to identify him with poor. Imagine a celebrity like Britney spears dressed up in Indian Sari or Mahatma Gandhi being dressed up in designer’s suit.
People are so used to images that they often create the image of God based on their own imagination. For example, Indian Gods like Krishna, Rama or Vishnu are all dressed up like a King with golden and diamond jewels and armed with deadly weapons while Shiva, the God of destruction, is always dressed like ascetic with serpent around his neck. On the contrary Jesus is dressed like a saint whose appears to be ready to give sermons. Buddha is always found sitting in meditation. Little does people realize that none has ever seen God, yet the Gods who have multi-facet personalities are molded into an image covering the real persons they are and hence concealing the truth from the eyes of the beholder.
These images have become so important to most people over the ages that they confuse these images of human imagination as God and never seek to know the reality which lies beyond all images. It is for this reason that all religions asked their followers to shun image worship and seeks to know the Reality. Lord says in Bible
“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it. (Habakkuk 2: 18-19)
While image are a convenient method to identify a person yet it is most disastrous to confuse image with reality. Images can be a means to an end but not an end in itself. One has to use the image to reach the truth but break the image as soon as the reality becomes visible. Thereafter the focus must be to the reality and not on the image.
The Trap of Image
Most of us without our conscious knowledge are actually trapped in the images just like most film stars gradually develop an image of themselves and then they end up doing similar roles in all their lifetime. Their fans become so used to their image that they do not want their heroes to play any role contrary to their image. The stars who develop their image in order to become celebrity soon find themselves trapped in their own images like a man trapped inside a prison walls.
Even ordinary people can not avoid the trap of their own images. Some people develop the image of being good and nice. They become so serious about their own images that they can not do any bad thing to others even if they wish to do. They may hate a person yet they would avoid being critical to him as their image would get destroyed by such acts.
Similarly, people are trapped in the image of father, mother, leader, businessman, son, daughter, nice, effective and ruthless and so on. Even an evil person, often become so trapped in his own image that he fears that if he becomes nice and kind to even one person, his image would be destroyed and people would stop fearing him. His fear is not very different to a nice person who avoids being critical for the fear of losing love of the people.