Mirror, mirror on the wall: Who’s the “projecting”-ist of all?

6 06 2009

Maybe the reason so many couch potatoes watch so much tv is because they find a kindred spirit in, a kinship to, something that projects illusion in the guise of reality.*

I thought about this the other day while in a meeting where one person dared to express her dream vision and another shot it down with a “thou doest protest too much” fervor.  It increasingly became obvious that these two people actually harbored similar dreams.  Yet, one was just taking the first tentative, baby steps towards hers while the other had long ago decided the journey was futile (i.e. he didn’t have the balls to do it!).

As he hurled onto his colleague every reason why he hadn’t pursued his dream (all under the guise, of course, of “the time isn’t right”, “it’s too risky”, “it’s been tried before”, etc, etc) you could see the sharp edges of his anger camoflouging his fear shielding his shame.  And you could see those sharp edges prick and then burst the woman’s dream.

Mission accomplished!

Once she was beat into the submissive state of one who dreams for others, not for self, the guy shrugged his shoulders and said “I mean, that’s just how I see it”.  I wanted to add “Yes, how you see it….as a spectator, not a participant.”

That poor woman.  My colleague had projected onto her an entire Lifetime mini-series of angst and drama!

And neither of them had a clue what the other had done.

What is it about humans that make us so prone to projection?

When we meet someone’s new boyfriend, we say “he’s not right for him”…because we haven’t found the right person for us. A friend of mine is picking up and moving away and a lot of our mutual friends think he’s plum crazy…because they cannot imagine living a life alive with mystery, preferring one that is dead with predictability.

Much of our discourse in this country is based on what was, not what is.  Democrats and Republicans would rather play from old, batter-worn playbooks, than the truth.  And look at race in this country.  We’re still having that conversation via a 1960’s/1970’s time warp.   And on and on it goes.

Now not all projection is unpleasant.   Some of it’s downright fun. But none of it’s real.  It’s as much an illusion as the images that come out of our tv’s. And when we forget that, we pump air into the illusion and douse the flames of reality.

*  A  tip of the hat (pen? keyboard?)  to Richard Bach who wrote beautifully about movies, projectors and life in Ilusions.




2 responses

8 06 2009

Hmmm….seems to me that you have a bit of a bias built into your notion of projection that goes something like this: active, risky = good and passive stable = bad, which makes sense given some of the choices that you have recently made. But Richard Bach’s point on projection is that we are all free to watch the movie of our choice — we alone are able to decide if the movie is good or bad. Others can only decide if the movie is right for them. Perhaps your risk averse friend is learning exactly what he needs to learn right now…

8 06 2009

well, of course, we all have bias built into any and everything we do!
as for my acquaintance, i don’t believe he’s risk adverse. i believe he’s dark-adverse (believing, as many do, that if it’s dark or painful it should be avoided at all costs). to me, that means you leave lots of life’s gifts unopened—which is fine if that’s someone’s conscious choice.

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