People tend to project their bad qualities onto other people, but not so much their good qualities. Why? One explanation is that they are lazy and find it easier to assume that everyone is like them. Freud’s explanation was that projection is a mechanism of ego defense: we can’t bear the thought of our own faults so we transfer them onto others. I think it comes from the fact that people don’t think about others at all: they think only of themselves. They never really try to understand another person because there is no one else. Or better, those people most prone to projection are the people who think mostly of themselves. This applies to the projection of good qualities as well as bad: since no one but yourself is real there is only your own psychology, good and bad. Everyone is like me because no one is other than me. Projection stems from solipsism.

6 responses to “Projection”

  1. Nadji says:

    On a slightly different note (maybe delusional), this kind of egocentric solipsism might be not so bad, since it could be simply exceeded by adopting a new formula of an extended solipsism, say: “Everyone is like me because I am everyone!”.
    That’s what is suggested by the physician Freeman Dyson: “Enlightment came to me suddenly and unexpectedly one afternoon in March when I was walking up to the school notice board to see whether my name was on the list for tomorrow’s football game. I was not on the list. And in a blinding flash of inner light I saw the answer to both my problems, the problem of war and the problem of injustice. The answer was amazingly simple: There is only one of us.” [Dyson, 1979, p. 17]

  2. Mike says:

    I can’t help but think that this projection mechanism Freud was talking about is behind the peculiar extremeness in the attacks by Trump supporters against Hillary Clinton’s character. Unconsciously, at least, they must know that Trump is a person of remarkably poor character, so they let their consciences off the hook by imagining Clinton to be a moral monster who ought to be thrown in jail. Deep down, for example, they must know it’s flagrantly wrong for Trump to refuse to release his tax returns or disclose his business dealings with Putin’s Russia, so they assuage their bad consciences by assailing Hillary for keeping her pneumonia secret for two days. (She’s obviously a shady character with something to hide.)

  3. Nadji says:

    Don’t care about the sound of the “Trumpet”. It will eventually fade. In french, “Trump” sounds like “trompe” (mosquito trunck) and “tromper” (deceiving).

  4. Joshua says:

    actually that’s not true. People do project their positive qualities too. Here is an article about it by a wonderful psychotherapist.

Leave a Reply to Mike Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *