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 metaphoric internalization, with forgetful figurative borrowing from the contemporary advent of motion picture projection.

We now believe the world to be, taking it as common 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" (RM 65-78).
1June Singer, Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung's Psychology (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1972: 224.