The Power of Imagery

I once heard a statistic that gave me a lot of pause—that watching something three or more times affects our psyches as if we had watched the actual event! Think about this; think of the horrific images that have come our way quite unbidden by just watching the news. Think of the times we have willingly ingested such images by going to the movies to see a murder mystery, or viewing television shows focusing on crimes.

And the statistic doesn’t apply only to images containing violent themes.  Evidently it is equally true of the repeated viewing of anything—which could include other unhealthy situations, such as depictions of bickering couples or drug abuse. Even shows focusing on celebrities, repeatedly watched, could be seen as reinforcing the idea that what really counts in our society, what is valued and highly paid for, is beauty or notoriety—sometimes both.
May we remember that the images we take in do not pass through our consciousness without some effect. May we choose what we feed our hearts and minds with consciously. May we remember the wisdom of the guidance found in the New Testament’s Philippians 4:8: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about such things.” Becoming more mindful of the images we take in may seem like a small thing, but the quality of our lives depends on it—and ultimately, so does the future of our world.

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