There were a number of people at my friend’s barbecue. One was an old classmate wearing a hat. He greeted me with a firm handshake. Then he glanced at my hat and chuckled in that good-natured tone of knowing. 

cheap date lyrics “I see you’re hiding your bald spot!” He pointed to his hat. “Me too.”  

Fordon I smiled and laughed in kind.

buy Pregabalin in the uk “Actually, I’m avoiding another sunburn on my head,” I said. “I’ve burned myself a couple of times and it’s really painful. Being bald doesn’t bother me too much—I like to think it makes me look more like Brad Pitt.” 

My classmate looked confused.

It was classic projection. My classmate had a belief about being bald and wearing a hat, based on his personal experience with his own baldness and hat wearing. Now he imagined that other bald men with hats had the same feelings and made the same decisions in response to their baldness. His observations and conclusions about hat wearing were disassociated from reality. 

He caused no harm. But small projections can sometimes lead to disproportionately large conflicts. Once I accidentally stepped on another man’s toe and it almost produced a fist fight. 

“You son of a bitch!” was his response. “You did that on purpose!” 

I had a difficult time convincing him that I was just clumsy. Perhaps someone in the past had intentionally stepped on his toe to hurt him, and now he held the belief that all toe-stepping signified physical assault.  

Such projections shape our lives every day. Our unexplored subconscious holds hundreds of hidden beliefs about all sorts of events, situations, and people. These beliefs cause us to misread and misinterpret much if not most of what we experience in our daily lives. We see things that aren’t there. We live, really and truly, in a giant illusion, but we don’t recognize it as such. 

Conscious living demands work. We need to dig through the boxes of beliefs in the dark basement of our subconscious and examine their true contents. Not what-we-think-we-believe, and not what-we-hope-to-aspire-to-believe, but what we really believe. It’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Many of our beliefs have been shaped by forgotten experiences in our early childhood, prior to the development of explicit memory, or at the very least, prior to the development of our capacity to reason things out for ourselves. Others come from unconscious assimilation of messages in music, film, and television. Some of the worst come from orthodox religious teachings that were foisted on us in childhood, promoting values that were relevant when pharaohs and goatherders ruled the world.

Ultimately, our projections tell us little or nothing about our external world and everything about ourselves. My guru used to say that when we point at someone, three fingers point back at us. Something to remember the next time we find ourselves conducting a critical analysis of a partner, friend, colleague, or neighbor.   

Projections cause problems. If we want to know reality better, we need to become proficient in recognizing and reading our own projection process. Otherwise we’re forced to go through life fighting shadows, and it’s not very satisfying.  

 © James Andrew Grove

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.