A Magic Lantern
In psychology, projection refers, of course, to
the tendency to externalize our individual concern, leading us to discover
without those problems with which we are wrestling within. The idea plays
a key role in the archetypal psychology of C. G. Jung,
who held that an individual who "will not see his own weaknesses . . .
will find causes everywhere else for his inability to accomplish more of
what he sets out to do," discovering in others, in a process known as "projecting
the shadow," "those despicable qualities which he fails to see in himself,
but which dog his every step."1
The idea of projection, Barfield hastens to
remind us, could not have come into existence without
internalization, with forgetful figurative borrowing from the contemporary
advent of motion picture projection.
We now believe the world to be, taking it as
sense, "a magic-lantern show, projected by our minds and senses on
to a backcloth of whirling particles or some mathematical substitute for
them" (WA 87). We have largely forgotten that such a world-picture
is in fact an historical invention, and it takes an iconoclast like Barfield
to remind us of it.
So it is that, in the age of the movie,
the student of words who is unfashionable enough to examine their history
as well as their current use, is not perhaps so impressed as some others
are by the universal practice of projection not only in movie houses and
on the television screen, but also as a concealed metaphor, in the ingenious
fancies of men. Is projection itself being projected? (RM 74)
|See in particular "The Harp and the Camera"
of the Soul: The Practice of Jung's Psychology (Garden City: Anchor
Books, 1972: 224.