A mind holds various "images". New information gets associated with these images and eventually a new image is created. Recollection of events or ideas goes through recreation of corresponding experience based on these images and their associations.
There are very basic images - Foundation Images, which affect the entire structure of images and their associations. Conscious rarely access them and the most of them are similar in all individual minds. Some are even "hardwired" - minds are born with them.
Among Foundation Images are images of forms of the body, and images of actions of the body, including special actions, when the body does not move. One could find reflections of these images in the way a language structures presentation of reality with basic concepts (words and stable word combinations).
Associations between images have different strength. Associations of an image with some of the Foundation Images are the strongest; they are the basis of the system of associations. Each new Foundation Image acquires associations with existing images. These new associations are strong, in spite of novelty of this image.
Hence, extending or any other way of modifying the system of Foundation Images affects one's perception broadly in seemingly unrelated areas.
Various esoteric disciplines provide such extension of the Foundation mages and they insist on broad implications of this activity.
Martial Arts add images of body actions. Yoga add images of other types of body actions (usually static actions and unusual forms of breathing coordinated with activity of the heart). They add also special images of actions, where thinking is specially coordinated with actions. Establishment of these images as Foundation Images requires repetition - training.
Mysticism provides tools of affecting the system of Foundation Images special thought activity, which could be very effective and thus dangerous.
A few classes of dangers are described:
Modified system of the Foundation Images could get in conflict with body's homeostatic activity with an illness or even a death as a consequence.
The social side of an individual could be damaged, with social detachment as a consequence.
The mind could form a stable system of images insulated from effects of reality and a person could make major decision based on this system, which consequently are detached from reality; this is insanity.
Hence, manipulation of the Foundation Images is far from being an innocent activity.
Mild forms of such manipulation are familiar:
Some professional activities involving repetitive actions as playing musical instruments by musicians, engaging in intensive logical manipulations by mathematicians, etc. inevitably modify the Foundation Images.
Regular religious studies and regular prayer have the same effect.
An individual having modified Foundation Images has a point of view and interpretations of events and messages different from the rest of society. This causes social problems, unless the individual has a group of similar minded individuals to be a part of. Thus, one could observe different groups with different mindset, which have difficulty understanding each other.
Before one embarks in such modification of Foundation Images, one should prepare oneself a social niche, where an individual with such modified Foundation Images is acceptable and even needed. Traditionally, teaching is used as such a niche.
Sometimes, modification of behavior of a group of people is achieved through the modification of their Foundation Images. This way individuals brainwashed in a cult group, have unusual behavior and filtering out of some information important for efficient functioning in a society or even their physical survival.
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An analysis of the interplay between what is revealed in an individual and in a society provides insights into the nature of Foundation Images.
An individual does not exist in isolation; one is a part of a society. Manipulation of one's Foundation Images is manipulation of the society and manipulation of common Foundation Images of the society is manipulation of its members. This is not a deterministic phenomenon. The more individual or a group is detached from the society, the less influence individual manipulation has on society as a whole.
There is a major pitfall in this phenomenon. Modification of the system of images leads to modification of perception and behavior. If one equates perception and reality, then one assumes the possibility of mental manipulation of the reality. From this point, it is only one step to insanity. Mysticism often makes this mistake. It is a delusion, which reinforces itself - one manipulating own Foundation Images actually observes the change. It takes strength of mind to understand that this is not the change of reality but the change of perception. When a group is engaged in manipulation of the Foundation Images, all members of the group observe the change, and this reinforces the delusion. Such group needs a respected and experienced member, who understands the phenomenon and pulls the group out of this delusion.