Projection

Background

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others. A bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target, or a person who is confused may project feelings of confusion and inadequacy onto other people. Projection incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping. Projection has been described as an early phase of introjection.

Projection was conceptualised by Sigmund Freud in his letters to Wilhelm Fliess, and further refined by Karl Abraham and Anna Freud. Freud considered that, in projection, thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one's own are dealt with by being placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else. What the ego repudiates is split off and placed in another.

Freud would later come to believe that projection did not take place arbitrarily, but rather seized on and exaggerated an element that already existed on a small scale in the other person. (The related defence of projective identification differs from projection in that the other person is expected to become identified with the impulse or desire projected outside, so that the self maintains a connection with what is projected, in contrast to the total repudiation of projection proper.) Melanie Klein saw the projection of good parts of the self as leading potentially to over idealisation of the object. Equally, it may be one's conscience that is projected, in an attempt to escape its control: a more benign version of this allows one to come to terms with outside authority.

Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of personal or political but is more commonly found in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. Carl Jung considered that the unacceptable parts of the personality represented by the Shadow archetype were particularly likely to give rise to projection, both small-scale and on a national/international basis. Marie-Louise Von Franz extended her view of projection, stating that "wherever known reality stops, where we touch the unknown, there we project an archetypal image". Psychological projection is one of the medical explanations of bewitchment used to explain the behavior of the afflicted children at Salem in 1692. The historian John Demos wrote in 1970 that the symptoms of bewitchment displayed by the afflicted girls could have been due to the girls undergoing psychological projection of repressed aggression. (Wikipedia)





Our relationship issues are very complex considered one at a time. When we are in a group setting: family, church, public event we adjust our personas accordingly. It's hard to be oneself in a mob. Sadly Christians judge others all too readily! We are our own worst enemies! We also are known for "shooting our own wounded."

Jesus tells his followers not to judge others.  He says that if we do judge others, we will be judged ourselves.

“Do not judge, so that you will not be judged.  For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. (Matthew 7:1-2)

In Luke, Jesus says the same thing, but also warns against condemning others.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” (Luke 6:37)

God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).  Only God can look at the heart.  We are all sinful human beings (Sin is selfishness.  Selfishness is sin).  So, we cannot judge or condemn others without deserving Jesus’ anger “You hypocrite!” We cannot know what is in another person’s heart.

How do we stand against those who behave in ways that are opposite to the behavior Jesus requires from his followers, without judging or condemning that person?  Answer – we stand against the behavior, not the person.  If we are followers of the teachings of Jesus, we do not judge or condemn the individual concerned.  For example, if someone is promoting violence as a way to achieve an objective, we promote peaceful action.  Or, if someone is clearly lying, we point out the truth, but we do not judge or condemn the person.

Jesus tells us to be merciful and tells us how God will respond to those who are merciful.  “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).  If we are merciful, we will not judge others or condemn them.

Jesus tells us to be meek (Matthew 5:5).  (Meek is not a common English word today.  The Greek word used in this verse can also be translated “kind” or “gentle”.)  If we are kind and gentle, we will not judge others or condemn them.

Jesus tells us to be humble (Too many times to list here.)  If we are humble, we will not judge others or condemn them.

Jesus tells us to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15).  If we forgive others, we will not judge them or condemn them.

Most importantly, Jesus tells us to love others (Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37).  If we love others, we will not judge them or condemn them.

We live in societies where judging others and condemning others is regarded as normal.  We see our political leaders judging and condemning each other all the time.  As followers of Jesus we must show a different way of behaving. (Follow the Teachings of Jesus)

A few weeks ago, while talking informally to several friends in my living room I asked for their attention and said, “in case you people don’t know who I am: I’m god.” No one gasped or batted an eye so I said, “Aha! You each think you are a god, don’t you!” All agreed! Usually others see us more clearly than we imagine we are. We all wearsome kind of a mask, but in reality long for intimacy.

Among Millennials these days I find many who have defaulted to a kind of Hindu world view. As wanna be gods and goddesses our main problem is how to coexist when absolutes (such as knowing the real God) disappear from society.  I’m Old School so I agree with the Bible:

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. (1 Corinthians 8:5-7)
I also contend that the one true God is personal and wishes us to know Him. He alone has real life, eternal love, and we don’t do well when rebelling against Him! Assuming we each gives Jesus permission to “save” us, and know us, God shows us how disconnected we really were. We don’t know ourselves very well and we are just beginning to understand how awesome and glorious Creator is. "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Eternal life is not mere immortality, we all are immortal already, and destined to spend forever with God, or outside.

Near the end of his life the Apostle Paul said, 

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.  Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.  Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:  whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:7-21)

It should not surprise us, therefore that we are great “projectors” --as described above. In our one-on-one relationship with Jesus we have a loyal Friend who does not deal with us by criticizing, belittling, or talking down to us. When we relate with our parents, teachers, employers, peers, and friends--Jesus is our best possible mediator! When we are relating to another Christian we can enjoy wonderful synergy and "fellowship."

One of the very best ways to get to know your fellow Christians is in a small group. Many years ago my friend Mike McKenna and I stumbled on to this incredible way of seeing Jesus work with each of us in a safe setting. Please read up: History of the Wednesday Brothers of Thunder. The Wednesday Believers of Thunder


But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?  For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.  For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.

Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3)


“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  

“And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  

“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5)

Supplemental Reading

Mirrors

What is Light?

Deliberate Sin

House of Cards

The Great Generational Disconnect

The Return of the Landlord

The Approaching Time of the End

The Left Hand of God

Earth's Near Term Future

Introduction to Intimacy

Yin, Yang, the Tao and Wholeness

It Takes Three to Tango

The Ego Papers






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August 18, 2021