Projection: An automatic process whereby contents of one’s own unconscious are perceived to be in others.
Projection means the expulsion of a subjective content into an object; it is the opposite of introjection. Accordingly, it is a process of dissimilation, by which a subjective content becomes alienated from the subject and is, so to speak, embodied in the object. The subject gets rid of painful, incompatible contents by projecting them.
Just as we tend to assume that the world is as we see it, we naïvely suppose that people are as we imagine them to be. All the contents of our unconscious are constantly being projected into our surroundings, and it is only by recognizing certain properties of the objects as projections or imagos that we are able to distinguish them from the real properties of the objects.
Projection occurs when we attribute an element of our personality, which resides in our unconscious, to another person or group. We can project both negative and positive characteristics, however, there is a greater tendency to project the former rather than the latter. Sigmund Freud, who popularized the term in the mid-1890s, believed projection to be a defense mechanism used to avoid the anxiety that is provoked when one is forced to face up to their faults, weaknesses, and destructive tendencies. Jung’s view of projection was similar to Freud’s and as Jung explains in Archaic Man: “Projection is one of the commonest psychic phenomena…Everything that is unconscious in ourselves we discover in our neighbour, and we treat him accordingly.” (Carl Jung, Archaic Man)
Jake goes deeper and discusses the different layers of projection and how to identify them.
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