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projection

How can we differentiate between what is our own projection onto and the actual qualities/weaknesses of another?!

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Re: projection

Claire,

Thanks for a thought-provoking question. I would tend to say the short answer is that we can't!

In the physical world we can quantify the degree of uncertainty in our measurements according to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. But in the psyche, everything is uncertain to an uncertain degree!

I think that in the world of objects, i.e. with measurable quantities, we can use Aristotelian logic (i.e. A is not "not A") very effectively to a point.

On the other hand, consider dreams for a moment. Suppose I dream I am a good person and that I'm combatting an evil person. Now I know I am both of these! So I can't say A is not "not A" b/c I am both A and its complement. Are our waking lives any different in this regard? I don't think so.

Maybe we can discuss this at length in the forum; I'm sorry to be so busy today, giving too short an answer to a very deep question.

But cutting to the chase, I'm reminded of how Jung stated (if I remember correctly! I think it's in Psychology and Alchemy...) that every authentic religious truth contains paradox.

And I read once that the Buddha said of Nirvana, "It
both exists and does not; neither exists nor does not."

When we see weakness in another, I think we can be assured that that same weakness exists in us as well; and the same applies to our strengths. Maybe Self is something that permeates the whole universe?! Whether it does or not, our dealing with another's weakness requires that we treat it with understanding.

Embracing paradox, contradiction, and mystery can be very rewarding. And as far as I can tell it's the ONLY way to deal with interpersonal situations that leads to any kind of wholeness.

I'm so sorry if this disjointed stream of "consciousness" doesn't make sense!

Please say so and I'll give your question another try.

I hope you are having a great day!
Pryzm
:-)

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Re: projection

Thanks for your reply Pryzm

'When we see weakness in another, I think we can be assured that that same weakness exists in us as well; and the same applies to our strengths. Maybe Self is something that permeates the whole universe?! Whether it does or not, our dealing with another's weakness requires that we treat it with understanding. '

Does this statement pertain to dreams only, as in reality, what I'm saying is, someone could be a abuser, rapist, murderer etc and you're saying those qualities are also in the victim?!!

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Re: projection

Hi Claire,

Well I certainly had the impression when I replied to your question about projection that I might be leaving a few lines of thought unfinished... And I'd hoped that someone with more knowledge about these things would augment my post with an enlightening answer to your question. :-)

But have you read in the Upanishads "Tat Tvam Asi" or "Thou Art That" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tat_Tvam_Asi)? Or are you familiar with Immanuel Kant's distinction between phenomenal and noumenal?

How about Jung's suggestion in Psychology and Alchemy (probably elsewhere) that good and evil are closer in the psyche than twins? I have never read where Jung referred to "his" psyche or "her" psyche. It seems to be just "psyche" - and I tend to think it pervades everything (phenomenal and noumenal). In this sense it seems equivalent to what the Hindus refer to as Brahman (and Atman). The idea that Self pervades the world of objects is not unique to my body of philosophical thought by any means.

Joesph Campbell, in Hero With a Thousand Faces talks about the World Navel as a place from which everything, both good and evil, flows into the world; of course, this "Unus Mundum" corresponds to the wellspring of life within the psyche.

I want to give your question a careful answer and I'd like for this post to be just a start. I don't want to become immersed in theory if you're looking for a practical answer (in fact, as many are, so am I a victim of some of the evil you mentioned), so it would help if I knew a little about where you are coming from, philosophically and otherwise.

But I'll come clean first, and admit that I (tentatively) think that all things are within us - good and evil, phenomenal and noumenal, and so much more.

And that's really my short answer to your question. All things are within us, and all "non-things" too, if you don't mind my saying so. All that we understand is within us, isn't it? Maybe the indwelling All is the reason we can understand the universe we live in (to the extent we can/do).

I am distrustful of metaphysics b/c it so often and too largely consists of our own projectionsonto the fabric of reality, but I also think metaphysics is necessary to some extent. Maybe if we're honest with ourselves and see our metaphysics as a useful (partial) fiction, that would allow us to conceptualize without being bound by our conceptions.(?)

So, pursuing my fiction, I'd say that within the human heart lie good/evil, male/female, light/dark, life/death, within/without, and every conceivable pair of polar opposites. Of course this is a "fictional" metaphysic, a metaphor really, but what if it is true in a literal way?

The Taoists, Zen Buddhists and others focus on touching within ourselves that which is beyond these pairs of opposites. Analytical Psychology as I understand it has a lot to do with growing beyond a dialectical tension that has stalled us on our path. Dying to ego is being reborn to the ineffable (= the noumenal).

I admit that drawing a distinction between subject and object is valid to a point, and it's how we tend to think in the West. It pervades our science as well as our religion. But where do we draw the line so as to say, "Before this is Self; beyond this is Other." ?

Maybe the alchemy of refining the raw material that animates our physical forms (i.e. raw material beyond good/evil and all the other pairs) is the way of growth in this life (so as to produce good I mean).

And don't we find that murders and rapists are often those who deny the existence of any evil within themselves? Surely we can do better.

Hope I'm starting to make sense, please let me know your thoughts. This is a deep subject and I'm not sure where to focus that would make the most sense to you, but I'm very glad to keep trying.

Pryzm
:-)

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Re: projection

I agree that we all have good and evil inside us and of the importance of recognising the shadow and so forth. However, I think there are things OTHER than the self in the outside world and to say everything is part of us is nonsense and extremely damaging to those who have worked through blaming themselves and placing emphasis on the agressor

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Re: projection

Claire,

It's good to hear your thoughts. And I hope you'll recall that I used the word "tentatively" when I said that I think all things are within us!! :-)

Even though I tried to touch on some traditions and ways of thought that would support that way of thinking, I hope not to be so bound by my perceptions that I can't see beyond them. And it's very foolish (imo) to be dogmatic about the noumenal, precisely b/c regardless of what I say about it, the opposite is true in some sense too. So I'm sorry if I seemed too dogmatic.

Even though my thoughts are nonsense to you, I'm sure I could grow if I knew the reasons you believe as you do. As I said, I am a victim of "aggression" and I'm not even aware of how my beliefs have damaged me!

So your remarks leave a question in my mind as to just how impoverished my existence is. If there is a possibility of my own personal growth along these lines then I surely want to realize it.

Of course I've been damaged as we all have, and I'm sure my beliefs have led me to do make a lot of damaging mistakes (in fact quite a few). I want to be clear about that. What I mean is that I don't see how this particular belief (beyond words of course but I'll summarize it as "Tat Tvam Asi" just for reference) has damaged me or retarded the process of my healing from psychic trauma.

You know, this might sound odd, but I think that the realization ("Tat Tvam Asi"), when it finally rose to consciousness, was the most liberating and healing moment in my life. In fact I'd hope for that same moment to occur in the lives of all others who have suffered trauma.

Would you mind saying why you believe there are things other than the Self outside us, and what those things are? That might be a good starting point.

Thanks,
Pryzm

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Re: projection

Hi Claire,

I like your question!

One way to find alot about someone is to see what he or she says about everyone else. Then take all that information and know that you've just learned a lot about this person. It is mostly all projection.

It takes a rare individual not to project, perhaps an enlightend soul.

Really, all dream interpretation by other's is projection. Only the dreamer really knows what the dream means and they can only really learn that by dialoging with the characters in the dream to find out from them who they are!

Look at these posts...pick any one person and read their interpretations of other's dreams. You now know alot about them, not the dreamer! That's really how it works.

Try it as an experiment. Ask someone to describe a few people. He or she has just described themselves!

Any one can test this theory out for themselves to see if it works. Works everytime! What we say about others, we are saying about ourselves.

Like I said, it takes a rare person not to project but to listen.

Know how hard true listening is? Its hard. It requires we let the other person speak for themselves, rather than impose our own interpretation of them on them. I means putting our ego aside and letting who they are be present to our consciousness.

How many people do you know really listen to others? How many people do you know are really present to others? How rare are these Deep Listeners? There you may find projection free interactions....otherwise.....

good luck.

May

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Re: Re: projection

Hi Claire,

And, after reading a few more of your dialogue with Prizm on the subject I'd like to add more...two of Jesus' sayings came to mind:

Judge not lest ye be judged. Remember, when I point a finger at anyone, three (not one) are pointing right back at me.

Or: Love your neighboor as your self. You brought up murderers and rapists and abusers. Of course I think that is horrible behavior. Are you so perfect then that you have never felt rage toward another human being? Are you so perfect that you have never interrupted someone in a conversation and dominated them verbally by force? Have you never commited adultry in your heart...as Jesus said can happen?

Why have you divided humanity into the 'good people' category on one side which includes you...and the 'evil' people on the other side which includes rapists, murders, abusers. Have you never hurt anyone before? He who has not sinned, Jesus said, let him through the first stone.

As you treat other people without....so you treat those disowned parts of yourself inside you. If ever you felt rage, lust, hate, would you allow yourself the space to work through those feelings, or have you put them in the category of which abusers, rapists and murderers belong to which you are above and better?

So without, so within, as above so below. As in heaven, so on earth.

Our psyche contains potentials for everything.

I wonder why some victims who don't get treatment or healing repeat the cycle of abuse? One theory is that they disown the potential of being like their abuser, disown their own shadow, maintain a victim mentality, and when they block that part of them off from healing and acknowledgement in a state of judgement...they reenact it...like abusers.

Our duty is to become conscious. Denying our shadow and projecting it on others is the cheap and easy way out. It is not the path to the Kingdom. And what we project and judge in others , we disown in ourselves, it goes underground in our unconscious, gathers momentum and explodes, or gets acted out.

Jesus ate with the sinners and the prostitutes. He didn't eat with the holier than thou hypocritical pharisees.

He didn't point fingers...he forgave.

The fastest way to stop projecting is to forgive yourself, but to do this you have to accept all of what lies within....as being there. You don't have to like it, but denying it makes it get dumped on others.

Our humanity is complex. We really have no choice but to face ourselves truthfully.

How do you think the murderer or rapist started out? As someone born inherently evil to be put in a seperated unredeemable category? I think not. They were children, as you and me, and were probably abused, had projections dumped on them, and were victims, who split off their shadows, until they were big and strong enough to do damage. Have you seen the rage some school yard children have when they play together? Fortunately they are too little to do harm, and if their parents help them learn to accept and manage their emotions they have a chance. But abused kids or people who never have a chance to get healing stay stuck in being a victim and justifying projecting their dark side on others so they never have to face it.

We all have a shadow. We all have to face our potentials, good and bad. Putting people in categories really doesn't help anyone.

I think the question to ask is, how can I know myself better? A person who is self aware is less likely to project.

When I for example find my self disliking someone, I know then that what I dislike in that person is my shadow that I've judged and repressed.

I mean deep dislike. Its OK to have morals and say rape and murder are wrong. But to hate the human being and put them in the 'evil' box category, to put them in an unredeemable dehumanizing hell...why? Isn't that what made them that way in the first place?

These are painful truths. but they are truths.

When you look at a murderer or what ever, and feel compassion for them, then you know you are no longer projecting, and if you think that some human beings can be put in categories that put them outside the range of compassion then you have essentially dehumanized YOURSELF. Three fingers pointing right back at you.

I'm guessing that you have some forgiving of yourself to do..maybe for being

a human being.

Because only God has the right to judge. To believe otherwise is to raise the ego to an inflation of arrogance that can only lead to self and other destruction.

Learn to love yourself first, so that you can love others.

'love your neighbor as yourself'.

May ( a fellow human being)

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Re: projection

I appreciate various points of your answer that have value May.

However, Im really not going to say/reply anything else because, not only in your posts but in other replies I have felt misunderstood.
I have therefore giving up explaining or exemplifying any response as it wont be heard.

Thanks for your comment in any case.x

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Re: projection

Plus, May haven't you just 'judged'me by the very aspects you are deploring in me?
Think in it...

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Re: projection

Hi Claire,

I honestly appreciate your question and your struggle to find the answers. I am not judging you at all. Nor did I intend to come across so in my post, and since I seemed to, I do apologize. My intent was only to present a profound philosophical point. Please take it as a discourse of useful information to apply or not apply as valuable in the course of life. Please do not take it as any personal commentary on you. True to my beliefs, I cannot make such personal commentary, as I don't know you yet, but am sure you are a wonderful human being.

Claire, on a personal note, and please forgive me if this does not apply, but I feel your concern with this issue is more than philosophical. You have mined into one of the deepest questions about the nature of life, of our humanity and of our healing. I do not know you, and here I may be projecting: But my intuition tells me that perhaps you have gone through something terrible in which someone really hurt you badly and in your healing process you are coming to terms with what is 'of yours' and 'what is of theirs'. If this is the case and you'd like support, I am happy to be here for you. Of course this is coming from my own experience as well, so it could be just a projection...I have asked questions like yours, and for me it was deeply personal. For me, in order to heal, I had to look deeply at my shadow, and to understand that it could have been easy to become like those who hurt me; but for the grace of God...

And, even in simple things, for example, I see how I have the potential to be like my parents in the ways they hurt me. Its almost natural for us human beings to imitate what we learn, if we do not consciously become aware...and its frightening and empowering at the same time. So I can understand that for myself, if I am not careful and self aware, it would be easy for me to adopt a harsh stance towards those who hurt me, and assume I can never be like them. But to do so might actually delay any healing process because whatever I project will only be cutting off parts of myself from healing. (This last sentence is the entire essential of all I was trying to say in my last post.)

I personally hold the view that we are all one, and that most interactions are projections. Because it is hard for us as human beings to 'comprehend' all that we are. It is vast, and perhaps, 'beyond good and evil.'I personally hold the view that to draw a sharp distinction between myself and another is to engage in duality and self-conflict. Rather, I can feel compassion for all, for I as Human Being was created Whole, with the Potentials for All. Also, it is difficult to verbalize, or right what I intuit as true......this is certainly part of what made my post difficult to get across.

I understand your example of the mugger. For me, when I understand that situation for myself, I would recognize that within me I have the capacity to act as that mugger, that as a human being I am no stranger to aggression. It is part of me and it is up to me to contain it and transform it. It would be easy for me to say only the mugger is aggressive, but the truth is, but for the Grace of God, I could have turned out a mugger, : ), and to recognize I have those potentials in me. I don't condone that behavior, but if I judge that mugger, have I not also judged that part of my own human potential?

I only intended to share with you my personal view of things, and how I cope with myself. I try to embrace all that is within me and honor it and transform the energy into something good, not repress it.

In no way was I commenting on you and I apologize that my writing style was unclear. I should have just put things in the 'I' pronoun.

Please, Claire, do not cease your questioning, or your explorations. Do not fear being misunderstood. Communication is a process whereby we attempt to get our ideas out and refine our communication through the process. I was misunderstood, but rather than not write, I chose to reframe my comments in a way that hopefully conveys my ideas more closely to my intent.

I sincerely wish you the best Claire and if you need to talk about anything please feel free to email me or post here. I am listening.

Best to you,
May

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