Here are some thoughts I had concerning projection:
Critical in our development and perception of the world is what I call ‘projection’. This is nothing but the ability to see ourselves in other things to the point that it “becomes” our self or an aspect of our self. As a result, our self goes beyond our self and who we are. The effect of this is that it causes things such as:
- Reflection. It extends our self to the world and to things. This makes it so that the world and things reflect us and who we are. In so doing, we see ourselves in the world and it, accordingly, reflects us. Its because of this that our perception, and interpretation, of the world is often more of an interpretation of ourselves than of the world.
- Possession. It makes the world and things “ours”, so to speak. Because of this, it makes it so that we “possess” the world and things. We “possess” it because we see it as part of ourselves. This makes it so that the events of the world are felt as ‘personal’ or ‘serious’ by us. The ‘pain of the world’, for example, becomes ‘our pain’ even though it may not directly affect us at all.
As a result of these, the world, and the things in it, becomes more ‘personal’ and ‘alive’ and not some inanimate dead thing. As a result, projection causes “animation” of the world, what I often call the quality of “livingness”. This is because projection makes the world ‘live’. In actuality, though, what we are actually feeling is our “livingness” through the world. In other words, what we are feeling is our own life.
In the world, there are many things that we project ourselves onto. These include:
- Our perception of the world as a whole.
- Our situation and condition in life.
- A ‘something’ in the world, whether animate or inanimate (such as an object or person).
- Some form of representation such as an idea, belief,or image.
- Various forms of imagination and expression (such as art or music).
You can see that projection can extend to just about any thing in life. As a result of this, projection affects our relationship, and interpretation, of the whole world, the things in it, and becomes a major element in our life. In other words, projection “makes” life and creates it. This fact is so critical that projection is the basis of a number of things such as:
- Contentment in life. Since the experience of life is found in the projection of ourselves, it becomes critical for a sense of contentment and fulfillment in life.
- A persons growth in life. Because projection is a ‘self-extension’, so to speak, it becomes the basis of a persons contentment in life, of ones growth of self.
- Meaning in life. The ‘extension of self’, that projection creates, becomes the means to see meaning in the world. Because of this, projection makes the world ‘make sense’ and become a relevant fact in our life.
In some respects, the ‘secret of life’ is having a ‘healthy projection’ in ones life. Its probably no surprise that many of the ‘wise sayings’, and advice of life, often describe aspects of projection. Much of religion involve it in one way or another.
THE PROGRESSION OF PROJECTION
As we develop and grow, projection changes throughout the years causing what are stages which describe the progression of projection.
- The awareness-based projection
- The need-based projection: the ‘projection of the stomach’
- Sexual-based projection
- Self-based projection: extension
1. AWARENESS-BASED PROJECTION
Early in our development we do a unique form of projection. I speak of the stage where need has not overcome us and become a dominant presence as it does in later life. I speak of this as the ‘pre-need condition’. It tends to create a type of projection that is based in awareness. In other words, we project our self upon an awareness of the world. In this way, the ‘world becomes us’. Because everything is based in awareness what happens in awareness happens to “us”. In this way, our awareness becomes an early form of self. In this way, we “confuse” our self with the world to the point that we cannot tell which is which. In fact, in our early development we do not sense a difference. This reveals that awareness-based awareness is a result of having no self . . . the world is our self. That is to say, we do not see ourselves as differentiated from the world but as one and the same thing. I often speak of this as the ‘pre-self condition’.
In many ways, the ‘pre-self condition’ sets the stage for all projections, the ‘world-as-self condition’. It establishes the ‘world’ as something we base ourselves on. Its from this condition the self grows later (as described in the later phases below). When the self grows we see ourselves as not only separate from the world but as separate individuals. In other words, the ‘pre-self condition’ makes the world the base and beginning of projection showing a natural tendency to be ‘world focused’. Because of this, there is a continual tendency to ‘forget ourselves’ in life and in our relationship with things. We tend to forget the consequences of what we do. We tend to forget what we are doing (though we may easily condemn others for doing the same thing). In other words, it creates a ‘anonymity of self’ stance.
As we grow, and our self develops, this projection changes forms. It continues to exist within us but develops what can be called an ‘unconscious awareness-based projection’. This is because it “works” without direct control of the self as it predates the self. In so doing, it as if ‘splits’ the mind in two . . . both functioning but unaware of each other. This is a good example of how the self, as it grows, tends to ‘usurp’ or ‘push down’ earlier aspects of our mind and, in so doing, tends to ‘forgot’ that they are there. In this way, it creates what can be described as a ‘mind amnesia’.
2. THE NEED-BASED PROJECTION: THE ‘PROJECTION OF THE STOMACH’
The ‘projection of the stomach’ is one of the first forms of projections of ones inner life and appears to be the first symbolic manifestations of psychic processes. As a result, it is critical in the formation of representations we develop later in life. In fact, one could say that it is the base of it all. In many ways, the ‘projection of the stomach’ is what all representation and projections are really about. As we get older, though, they take on many different characteristics and qualities which make it go way beyond the ‘stomach’ but the basic representation is there. What happens is that we see the coming of a ‘stomach representative’. In actuality, we continue the basic tendency of ‘projection of the stomach’ our entire life using a multitude of ‘stomach representatives’.
The ‘stomach’ as representation and need
The ‘stomach’ becomes the first real consistent representation of need. The pangs of hunger make the stomach a formidable force in our early life, no doubt the greatest. As a result, it becomes our ‘initiation’ of ourselves-in-the-world where need basically forces us to be in the world. Because of this, we are now in the ‘need phases’ of development, in which need become a dominant factor in life and growth. This makes it so that need becomes a major element in projection from now on.
The power, and continual presence of hunger, creates a tendency to project hunger upon the world. In this way, we see the ‘need-based projection’ appear. One of the traits of this projection is that it tends to be more specific. That is to say, it ‘focuses’ on specific objects, emotions, and things. With ‘awareness-based projection’ it is more generalized to awareness as a whole. ‘Need-based projection’ causes a focusing on specific things as part of its manifestation. As a result, specific things become the object of projection. This specific form of projection creates the ‘projection of the stomach’. Basically, the ‘projection of the stomach’ is seen in the child when, by imagination, they “recreate” the stomach in some symbolic way in representation or play. As a result, they ‘project’ their feelings onto the representative of the stomach. The reason why the ‘stomach’ deserves such a concern is simply because it is because one of the greatest early desires of our life is for food. The need for fun is the ‘hunger sense’ and it causes things such as:
- It repetitively causes unrest for the child.
- It remains as a somewhat of a constant force in a child’s life.
- Its lack of satisfaction creates a long lasting pang of hunger giving it great force.
- Its lack of satisfaction causes great discomfort and the coming of many bad feelings, such as anger and hatred.
- Its satisfaction causes great comfort and the coming of many goof feelings such as contentment and love.
It is this ‘hunger sense’ that inspires the symbolic representation. This ‘hunger sense’ is the endless daily sense of hunger that a child feels. Because it is sporadic, and not always immediately satisfied, it begins to channel itself through the imagination. It does this to such an extent that the imagination begins to “become” the ‘hunger sense’. In other words, the imagined representation “becomes” the thing represented. In this way, our imagination begins to actually ‘fool’ us. This tendency continues on into our later life where we are continually being ‘fooled’ by our imagination, thinking things are there that aren’t for example. This shows that projection causes a natural tendency to ‘fooling-by-projection’ in us. Typically, though, we like to be fooled by our imagination because it ‘satisfies’ and makes us feel secure. This is because, in our early stages of growth, ‘fooling-by-projection’ is something that creates a temporary satisfaction of the hunger sense . . . we “imagined” our hunger was satisfied. Because of this, there is often a great satisfaction and ‘magic’ to imagination that continues all our life.
Because of the more specific nature of the ‘projection of the stomach’ it creates several common representations involved with the ‘hunger sense’. As we grow these representation change but tend to retain the same value and significance deep down (for example the ‘hunger for food’ becomes a ‘hunger for fame’ or ‘hunger for life’). These common representations include things such as:
- The ‘stomach’ – this is that part of us that is ‘needing’. In children’s play this can appear as the putting of things inside other things – “something inside something” – that many children find fascinating. Another example would be to make big piles of things or in building large things, such as with blocks. With adults it can turn into having lots of money, a big house, fame, and so on. Generally, it is something that is made to be have the representation of being ‘satisfied’ in some way.
- The ‘food’ – this is the object of ‘need’. This is often a ‘something precious’ or something that we prize. This is the “thing needed”. Initially, this is food but, as we grow, it carries over into many other things, such as money, success, etc. The representation of food also becomes the beginning of a ‘love object’.
- The ‘parent’ – this is the ‘giver of satisfaction’. This sense is typically a ‘carryover’ from ‘awareness-based projection’. As a result, the representation of a parent tends to have this generalized, non-specific, ‘distant’, or ‘vague’ quality about it. In addition, because the ‘hunger sense’ is more specific the actual image of the parent is often ‘in the background’ in our early stages. Our focus is primarily in the immediate satisfaction of the ‘hunger sense’ (stomach and food representations). As we grow the sense of the parent becomes the sense of god or spirits or something similar.
Its interesting that these representations are not of the act of eating but of the different ‘things’ that cause satisfaction. In other words, the ‘hunger sense’ is represented by a ‘representation of satisfaction’. That is to say, it is not represented by the actual act of eating or of the act of being satisfied. In other words, the representation actually originates from the end result of being satisfied. This suggests that representation is intended to create a “calm” in the face of need. This shows the power and importance of need and the importance of its satisfaction . . . the primary goal is only in being satisfied. Its probably no surprise that ‘daydreaming’ and ‘pondering’ are often done to create just such an effect (both of these, remember, are forms of imagination – see my remarks about imagination above).
In general, the act of eating is only represented in symbolic form when its associated with frustration. This is no doubt because, in frustration (or lack of satisfaction), the frustrated impulse has no ‘food’ representative to satisfy itself with. As a result, it focuses on the next closest thing: the act of eating. This appears, initially, as a tendency to bite. In other words, frustration creates a tendency to ‘lash out at the world’. As we grow this can turn into acts of anger and violence. Many of these entail biting, screaming, yelling, talking loud, and so on. This shows an association between speech and eating. The effects of frustration and eating can also appear in other more acceptable ways:
- ‘Frustration accepting representation’. A good example of this may be portrayed in sacrifice where an animal is killed then eaten. In that way, its like saying “we feeling frustration but now we’re not frustrated”. Perhaps, in many ways, that shows a representation of ‘complete satisfaction’, going from one extreme to another. This perspective seems very prevalent with males.
- ‘Frustration avoiding representation’. A good example of this may be vegetarianism. The avoidance of eating any ‘killing of an animal’ as if tries to avoid frustration and ‘lashing out at the world’. Its probably no coincidence that it is associated with ‘peace’ and ‘loving things’. In actuality, its more like an avoidance of frustration by avoiding anything connected with it. This perspective is very prevalent with females.
The representative of the stomach creates a means for projection of self, and the state of ones self. It is, in actuality, the beginning of what is ‘hoped for’, as it is the source and representation of satisfaction. It creates a condition where the ‘hoped for’ thing becomes continually associated with representation and symbology. In this way, what we actually want is the representation or symbol of something, not the actual thing itself. This is the ‘stomach representation confusion’. It shows this association:
‘stomach representation’——satisfaction——thing wanted
Basically, satisfaction becomes confused between the ‘stomach representation’ and the actual thing wanted. In other words, its an image/thing confusion. For example, does the fact that you have a large house (the thing wanted) really cause satisfaction? More than likely, if it gives a satisfaction it is only an illusion of satisfaction. As a general rule, people are seeking the representation of satisfaction but we must remember that representation tends to not be an actual ‘thing’ but, in actuality, a state of mind. This is because it begins with a state of mind. Because of this, the sense of ‘satisfaction in life’ is based in finding that state of mind. This, interestingly, has been one of the basic teachings of religion since time began . . . is it any wonder? This tendency to confusion creates problems for many adults later on in life where they begin to spend their lives on seeking the ‘hoped for’ thing (which is often unrealistic and unattainable). For many adults, it begins a life of ‘chasing shadows’ which causes much unhappiness and despair. A good example of this is the continual seeking of money and wealth.
The ‘hunger sense’ as a process
The ‘hunger sense’ is a process, in itself, which has a number of stages such as:
- The hunger – the need.
- The act of eating – the ‘taking in’.
- The stomach – becoming ‘full’ or satisfied
- Defecating or release of the stomach – release of tension
Each one of these stages creates a pattern of behavior all their own, often with their own representation. Many people will develop ‘hang-ups’ at one stage or another which will often turn into eccentricities, neurosis, or other mental aberrations later in life. In fact, I tend to feel that we all develop a problem somewhere in the process as a normal part of growing. Examples of character traits it can cause at each phase include:
- The hunger: a character of person who always feel in want.
- The act of eating: a character of person that never feels that can do anything.
- The stomach: a character of person that is never satisfied.
- Defecating or release of the stomach: a character of person that must always feel ‘unburdened’, such as a lazy person.
Each one of us will tend to develop dominant traits from one stage or another. This is the ‘stage dominance of the hunger sense’. As a result, it shows that the process of the ‘hunger sense’ becomes very influential in our character. Because of this, we tend to see the world, and base our association with the world, according to this dominant stage.
The ‘hunger sense’ as self-creating
Even though it is a sporadic event the ‘hunger sense’ develops a ‘constant presence’ in our life. In fact, the repetitive sense of hunger is one of the things that leads to a sense of constancy of self. In other words, the ‘hunger sense’ creates a sense of self and constancy of who one is. It as if ‘forces us’ to feel our self over time. As time goes on this sense grows and grows, leading to a growing sense of self. This is the ‘self over time sense’.
As this self grows due to the continual repetition of hunger, the ‘self over time’ develops a new trait . . . of maintaining ones self. That is to say, the self develops a sense of ‘self-maintenance’ by continually seeking to be satisfied. This is the ‘self as self-maintenance sense’. This tends to create a sense of maturity, directedness, and purpose in the self. In many ways, this shows that the self is rooted in a crisis, of a need to satisfy hunger or, in other words, to ‘maintain oneself’.
3. SEXUAL-BASED PROJECTION
The projections of the stomach change dramatically when sexual characteristics begin to appear in the child. In effect, the representation of the stomach changes and turns into something else, greatly influenced by ones sex and the sexual characteristics we each have. In fact, it is probably the sexual characteristics that bring about the biggest, and most dramatic change, of the ‘hunger sense’ and stomach representation.
The ‘sexual projection of the stomach’
The big change of the stage of sexuality creates a tendency of projection of ourselves on to other people. In other words, the ‘stomach’ becomes transformed into ‘other people’ during this phase, causing a great change in projection and its representation. This process happens over a period of time and tends to cause a “great reorientation” in ones life and in how one associates with the world (primarily through the teenage years). This shows the power of this impulse. This causes a ‘sexual projection of the stomach’ as it basically takes the ‘stomach representation’ tendencies as a start and adds on to it the new sexual elements that have appeared. In other words, it builds upon what the ‘stomach representation’ and ‘hunger sense’ started. What’s different is that we begin to achieve satisfaction, so to speak, through other people and this becomes very critical. Its during this phase that the satisfaction, through other people, takes on a deep and serious tone, more than just ‘someone you know’. This is because we are projecting our self onto other people. This makes it so that other people are more closely ‘akin’ to our self . . . they become a part of you. As a result, various reactions appear such as:
- Reflection. Other peoples behavior become ‘representative’ of you and reflects you. Not only that, your behavior reflects other people.
- Blurring. There is a blurring of yourself and others.
- Identification. You see your self in respect to other people.
This makes it so that your association with other people take on a more serious tone during this phase. In many ways, its here that ‘social relations’ really begins.
Because this serious importance of people happens during a persons sexual phase shows that there is a close association between social relations (ones association with people) and sexuality. I should point out that this does not mean that social relations is ‘sexual’ in context (that is, we do not view other people in a ‘sex’ manner) but that the impulses are related. This is apparently because, during the sexual phase, we are ‘looking for someone’, namely, the opposite sex and children. As a result, it brings up a great inner need from within ones self for other people. In other words, the context of ‘sexuality, as I use it here, is taken from the point of view that it is really the need for other people. It seems to begin with sexual desire which, in a way, sets the stage for the need for other people. This new sexual trait, and need, becomes ‘transferred’ to other people in general actually creating two forms of ‘sexual projection of the stomach’:
- Actual sexuality. This is sexuality as directed toward the opposite sex and children. In that sense, it can be called a ‘pure sexuality’.
- Extended sexuality. This is ‘transferred’ sexuality directed toward other people. This is ‘pure sexuality’ transferred to other people.
What this means is that sexuality ‘colors’ social relations, in general, and casts a shadow over all associations with people. Because of this, there is a great association between sexuality and social relations.
The effect of ‘sexual projection of the stomach’ is that it creates a dual effect which are like polar opposites. As a result of this, they create a great strain, or tug-of-war, within the self which, in many ways, defines this phase. In other words, the process of the creation of the ‘sexual projection of the stomach’ creates great inner conflict within ones self. This can lead to various mental dilemmas, conflicts, and turmoil for many people. For some people it can lead to life-long problems. The dual effects of this process are:
- ‘Sexual blurring’.
- The strengthening of the ego.
In ‘sexual blurring’ there is actually a ‘blurring’ between everyone involved with sexuality. For ‘actual sexuality’ it consists of one’s self, the opposite sex., and children. With ‘extended sexuality’, it is everyone else. What this means is that we tend to equate ourselves (that is, blur) with everyone else. In that way, something like a ‘single person’ is created in our minds. With this we see that everything that happens to the other elements is as if perceived as if it were a part of our self. In other words, it is actually a carry over of the ‘world as self condition’. It is turned into what can be described as ‘others as self condition’. In this way, we confuse our self with other people and, at times, are no able to tell the difference. Our self is as if ‘dissolved into others’ and ‘disappears’. This gives it a self-destroying quality or a tendency to forget ones self, which is contrary to the other effect . . .
Strengthening of the ego
Contrary to the ‘sexual blurring’ is the creation of its opposite: a strengthening of the ego. This, really, is a result of a more pronounced awareness of ones self. In that way it is the contrary or opposite of ‘sexual blurring’, which is self-destroying. The dilemma, then, becomes an issue of self-destroying versus self awareness. As a result, we see that the ‘sexual projection of the stomach’ goes in two opposite directions causing a dilemma or tug-of-war within ones self. In a normal healthy condition, though, this dilemma creates something like a balance within us which helps foster a greater, more stable, and more mature self.
The ‘want/self association’
Another aspect of this growing awareness of the self, and its strengthening, is its association with want. Sexual-based projection tends to be a more deliberate act that it is willed by our self . . . we “want” it. In other words, it develops a closer relationship between want and self. In the ‘projection of the stomach’ the want overwhelms and controls what self is there. In sexual-based projection, need and self begin to work more hand-in-hand. In some ways, they become so allied that you can’t tell the difference: self=want. Because of this, it creates a ‘want/self association’.
Because of the association with want and self, growth is often determined by an ability to manage this association. As time goes on, and a person grows into young adulthood, this association will begin to dominate their life and much of the joys and woes of life will revolve around it. If the self does not develop enough then the want tend to continue on in the ‘projection of the stomach’ fashion. This often means the person is ‘controlled’ by want and will act as if there is no self.
As this association develops its as if there is a cycle that takes place:
- Thing centered (birth to about teenage years). Before sexual-based projection, we tend to primarily want ‘things’. That is, we generally do not want people
- People centered (teenage to young adulthood, about 30 or so). Here people figure prominently and, often, exclusively.
- Thing centered (about 30 to old age). Here our want turns away from people and back to ‘things’.
In this way, its as if the sexual-base projection causes a ‘detour’ from the rest of ones life. This makes this period of life very different from the rest of ones life.
The differences between the sexes
The different sexual characteristics make it so that there are different responses to sexual-based projection. In other words, the male and female respond remarkably different as a result of their different characters.
The male ‘sexual projection of the stomach’
With male sexuality, there is a tendency for him to ‘look out’ into the world for a female. In general, the ‘world’ becomes the representation of the males stomach, so to speak. It is there that he looks for satisfaction, and where his want lies. The males see’s the world as his ‘oyster’ (that is, something for him to ‘eat’). In other words, the male develops an ‘outer stomach representation’. Because of this, it changes form quite dramatically. As a result of this, the male tends to develop a number of qualities all representing the ‘outer stomach representation’:
- He see’s great meaning in the world and the things in it.
- He see’s the world as a part of and a reflection of himself.
- He will see himself in the world. It will often become a source of his identity.
Because of this, the world becomes very critical for the growth of the male. His life becomes an association with it. This is so powerful that his self-esteem, and worth, will often be determined by this world association. This causes a great change in the male, making great demands on him.
The female ‘sexual projection of the stomach’
In general, the female tends to continue her projection by extending it to other areas, namely:
- Projection to her body
- Projection to the idea of children
- Projection of the ‘nest’ or her immediate surroundings
These all tend to have an inward quality creating an ‘inner stomach representation’. Because of this, the female representation of the stomach does not change as much as the males. In actuality, the female maintains more of the original symbology, representation, and meaning of the stomach than does the male. In that way, the female sort of remains ‘childlike’ in a way and will still maintain a projection style that is unchanged, often, from her youth.
The female often tends to become very people centered, almost to the point of fixation. Their whole life, meaning, worth, etc. will tend to be focused on other people. This is primarily because of the mother instinct which innately makes females more concerned, needing, and wanting other people.
Later development of self as a result of sexual characteristics
With the later development of the self the sexual characteristics cause a strong sense of self, but each sex develops it differently and in different ways.
The male and the self
With the male the self becomes particularly dominant. For some males it becomes very dominant. In fact, one could say that the development of the self is one of the main avenues of male growth. It becomes a common theme in the male life as a result. Because of this dominance of the self it can be described as a ‘positive self’, as the self is “there”.
It appears that the more worldly attitude of the male tends to force more pressure on the self as a result, making it more dominant and needed. In other words, the world focus of the male creates a tension between the world and the male creating a need for the self to grow and strengthen in order to maintain a balance. This shows that the self is very much related to a balancing of the self with the world.
This ‘positive self’, though, can become so strong that it can actually hinder the males growth and development. In that way, it almost strangles him. He becomes too self aware and suffocates himself with himself. This becomes a particular problem as he gets older.
The female and the self
With the female, the self is not as dominant as the male. In fact, in some ways, the female develops a ‘negative self’, as the self tends to be absent or “partial”. This is why I often speak of this as the ‘partial self’. In actuality, the mother instinct in the females makes it so that the ‘female self’ is a union of their self with the child, a person, the family, or people. As a result, the female tends to seek a ‘union of self’ with someone else as a manifestation of their self. Because of this, the female needs people for her self to grow. This makes it so that they are not trying to develop their self like the male. Because of this, the female goes onto a whole different track than does the male.
To put it another way, the female self is always ‘seeking another self’ to make it complete, which gives it a ‘negative’ quality (that is, it needs another self to be complete). In other words, the development of the self is not a part of female growth, as it is with the male. They, rather, ‘seek another self’ to complete theirs.
This tendency makes it so that females are always having to belong, to follow, and to be a part of someone else. Because of this, they project themselves onto those other people which makes it so that they often cannot tell the difference between themselves and other people.
4. SELF-BASED PROJECTION: EXTENSION
The change in sexual characteristics, and its change in projection, causes us to develop new patterns of projections. This is further enhanced by the coming of a strong sense of self. In fact, with the coming of the self the projection changes yet again, and in a quite dramatic way: it turns into ‘extension’. This is characterized by the fact that the self is now aware that it is separate from the world, creating a stronger self and a strong sense of self-as-separate-from-the-world. Before extension, the projection is characterized by:
- The inability to not be able to make the distinction of self and other things.
- By confusing the self with other things and the world
In actuality, we never grow out of the tendency of projection and its traits are seen throughout our lives. In other words, we never become completely “developed” in extension . . . other aspects of our self keep hold of the older forms. The later forms, such as extension, tends to take a more dominant role, though, stronger in some people than in others.
Because of the development of sexual-based projection, we see a difference in extension in both the male and female.
The male and extension
Males generally develop extension to quite an extent. One could very well say that adult ‘male life’ is based in extension. In fact, its so prevalent in the male that one could say that extension is a male phenomena. Many males will develop a very strong sense of themselves-as-separate-from-the-world. With a stable self, this can lead to a person that is very ‘world and life wise’, able to achieve a great balance between life and the world.
Some males, though, will find it difficult, the world will become ‘too much’. As a result, they will tend to cuss and swear, drink, smoke, and do other things. In effect, the pressure of the world will become too much.
The female and extension
Females generally tends to not develop extension that much. They typically will remain in the former stages (often in sexual-based extension). In other words, females tend to not develop extension to the levels of the male. It appears that females tend to intensify much of the former styles of projection because of their more inward orientation caused by the mother instinct. This makes it so that they tend to not develop the self as much, which means they don’t go through the ‘self dilemma’ (see below). The females lack of development of extension seems to have to do with the tendency of the female need for other people, to see themselves as a part of other people, as created by the mother instinct. This is so strong that it, in a way, brings extension to a halt.
PROJECTION AND ALIENATION – THE ‘SELF DILEMMA’
One of the bad effects of projection is that it tends to cause an alienation. Because we are projecting ourselves to the world, and things, there is a tendency to dissociate ourselves from ourselves. In other words, projection often causes an alienation of self. As a result of this, it creates a ‘self dilemma’. This is a situation where we lose a sense of self as a result of projection. Its become so powerful that it has become a very significant part of human life. Much of history, religion, and philosophy, revolve around this theme. It creates a continual “trying to rediscover the self” theme. It is a continual ongoing dilemma in our lives. As part of the dilemma between the world and self there tends to create a number of reactions:
- A confusion of the world.
- A confusion of the self.
- A confusion of the self-in-the-world.
These themes are critical in much of religion and philosophy, showing the importance of the problem projection and alienation has caused. They can create great turmoil and conflict in a person. They often create great despair and anguish. Often, a person will not know ‘where they begin and end’ or ‘who they are’. Much human crisis is found in this dilemma.
In general, typical healthy responses to this dilemma tend to be things such as:
- An importance of belief.
- An importance in behavior.
- An importance of understanding.
- An importance in being calm.
In other words, the ‘self dilemma’ has caused a general drive to “form oneself” as these all entail the creation of a self in a particular form. That is to say, it is a drive to make ones self in a certain specific way. To put it another way, it has required us to ‘mold ourselves’ to a specific way of being.
One effect of this tendency to ‘mold our self’ is to create a culture. This is done a number of ways:
- By having things ‘pre-defined’. That is to say, we live with many things defined and delineated already.
- By letting things happen in a restrained way. This means that we have a freedom of expression that is not completely out of control but kept within specific, safe, and healthy bounds.
- By following. This means that we follow customs, people, traditions, etc.
These are ways culture helps create a molding of our self. This cultural molding helps prevent the ‘self dilemma’. This shows the importance and value of culture and why it is so important. It also shows that being deprived of culture tends to cause and create the ‘self dilemma’. Often, when its very prevalent in a society it says the societies culture is in decay.
But another important thing it shows is that the ‘self dilemma’ is part of the human condition. There is no solution to this ongoing dilemma in our lives. All ‘solutions’ are only temporary and do not last long. We could compare the ‘self dilemma’ to food: we can eat, and be filled, but soon we will be hungry again, and this goes on throughout our lives. What’s interesting is that this is all a part of projection which has roots in the ‘hunger sense’, as described above. In many ways, it shows that what has sprouted from the ‘hunger sense’ is what can be called a‘self hunger’ showing a ‘hunger/stomach/self/projection association’. This shows how the self is built upon the ‘hunger sense’ and the ‘stomach representation’, all connected through the process of projection. Even in later life, traits of its earlier origins still appear.
‘NEGATIVE PROJECTION’: PROJECTION AND SPATIAL RELATIONS
Projection has great impact on spatial relations and how we perceive space. Projection of space “makes the world”, so to speak, as it is all around us and our lives are within it. In the descriptions above we have been primarily speaking of projection to specific objects. That is, things within space. Let us call that ‘positive projection’.
Projection of space goes way beyond that, to the ‘space of life’ and “space consists of nothing”. We generally ‘sense’ this space, we ‘feel’ it, though we generally don’t realize it. Let us call that ‘negative projection’. In other words, this is a projection into “nothing”. This makes it very ‘non-specific’. In many ways, the space becomes like a Rorschach test where we ‘interpret what we want’. Because of this it can create a number of effects such as:
- Awareness of self.
- Insight into ones inner life.
- A sense of existence and beingness.
- It creates a sense of ‘something beyond us’, of god and spirits.
- It creates a sense of a deeper self.
‘Negative projection’, in actuality, has origin in our ‘pre-self condition’. As a result, it is actually a remnant of our first projection. People that do feel it tend to have a greater connection with their earlier self, which is why they feel it. Many people do not develop this sense that strongly. Most people have ‘glimpses’ of it, though. Other people feel it strongly and they tend to have a tendency to become spiritual. In other words, the projection of space, ‘negative projection’, tends to create spirituality.
THE ‘PROJECTED SELF’
One effect of ‘negative projection’ is the creation of projected images of imagination upon space, the ‘projected self’. The effect of this is to create a unique aspect of the self. It creates things such as:
Self-consciousnessness. This is really nothing but the projection of ones self upon space so that one “sees” ones self as if it were someone else.
- ‘Living images’. These are characterized by ‘seeing images’ in space. It can range from mild to extreme. The mild form may consist of “thinking you saw something” or “I saw something in my head”. The extreme form may actually be a “vision” or hallucination. In actuality, these are very common, most people just aren’t aware of it. A good example is when people are staring into space and are said to be “a million miles away” . . . they are actually engrossed in the ‘living images’. Another is daydreaming. In many ways, ‘living images’ are a ‘waking dream with ones eyes open’.
- A sense of ‘livingness’ in space. This creates a sense of ‘god’, ‘spirits’, ‘something is out there’, and so on. More importantly, it is usually sense as removed from us. In other words, its as if it is someone else.
All these entail a quality, or ability, to have ‘multiple selfs’ and to sense both at the same time. What I mean by this is that one must be able to perceive another aspect of ones self while in another self. This, really, is the ‘cross-self experience’.
PROJECTION IN CREATURES
Creatures seem to display a number of forms of projection, depending on their nature and complexity. In other words, projection ranges from simple to complex. Some examples include:
- Instinct-bound projection. These creatures only display projection when it is ‘bound’ to some instinctual quality. When something is ‘bound’ it has importance for the creature. This shows that projection is a means to giving meaning to specific things in the world amidst a world of infinite things. In other words, it assigns value to specific things so that it is not confused with other things. In this way, it gives an order and meaning to what a creature needs in the world. Anything else not bound with this meaning is treated as non-existent or non-consequential. A good example of creatures that demonstrate this extensively are insects.
- Perceptual projection. This quality is as if added to the instinct-bound projection. These creatures display projection as a part of associating with the world. Because of this it tends to be very reactive. That is to say, the creature reacts to a situation. They see something “as there” and react to it. A good example of this are birds.
- Intimate projection. This quality is also added to the previous forms. This is when creatures see the world ‘as part of themselves’. The creatures that encompass this form are mammals, particularly humans, who have developed it extensively.
These levels of complexity reveal some interesting aspects to the nature of projection:
- Instinct is the beginning of projection. In many ways, projection is, in actuality, the ‘force’ that causes projection, making specific things in the world relevant and ‘noticed’. That is to say, it ‘singles out’ specific stimuli in the world, among a myriad of stimuli, for meaning and notice.
- Projection helps creatures perceive the world and create a conception of the world. By ‘singling out’ stimuli it creates, in a sense, a “world” for the creature to live in. In this way, projection actually creates the world the creature lives in.
- Projection makes an inanimate world animate (that is, it makes it ‘alive’). The more developed the creature (such as humanity) the more animate the world is.
I often compare projection to tentacles in which a creature ‘reaches out’ into the world to ‘grasp’ it. In this way, projection is what places the creature in the world. Without it, the world would be nothing but endless dead meaningless stimuli.
In addition, what we see is that the more involved the projection the more “intimate” the creature is with the world. By “intimate” I mean qualities such as:
- Variability. This refers to the ability to vary and be versatile in the world.
- Creativity. It tends to make creatures more creative in their dealings with the world.
- Expansiveness. It makes creatures look beyond their immediate world.
- Emotional bond. For some creatures there develops something like a strong emotional-like bond with the world, and the things in it.
- Aliveness. It makes the world seem more alive and ‘real’, unstead of just a series of stimuli.
Because of qualities, such as these, it makes creatures more adaptable and able to deal with the many situations life can bring.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen