Man sitting at table looking straight into the camera.

Projection


Projection means the expulsion of a subjective content into an object [such as another person]... The subject gets rid of painful, incompatible contents by projecting them...

C. G. Jung (1921)


Whatever we project on the screen of our mind we perceive in the world around us...The world we perceive is nothing but an ‘outpicturing’ of our beliefs in other words whatever we see inwardly determines what we see on the outside. If I perceive for instance a lot of love in me I see also a lot of love around me...

Hans Wilhelm (2012)


What sort of a person does he see behind the camera? What do you attribute to him? The face (as opposed to the context) seems to offer slender evidence about his thoughts; little to hang our projections on. The English term (adopted by the translator) had the broad sense of a mental image being regarded as an objective reality. And this wider sense, nearer to the Wilhelm quote, is now commonplace. But Jung was concerned with a more exact psychic mechanism: the attaching to another of matters we find difficult - and of which we commonly are unaware. Our projections toy with us, like children playing, hiding behind us - keeping out of sight. Others can easily see who is behind us - our projections. Just sometimes, we too, may catch a glimpse of them, of what it is that we have placed on others.

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The Jung quote is from page 457 of Psychological Types which was translated into English in 1923 by H. G. Baynes. It forms Volumn Six of the collected works published by Princeton University Press in 1971. Hans Wilhelm’s talk The Law of Projection is on YouTube. The picture was taken at a wedding party in Thanh Hóa Province, Vietnam.

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