“. . . and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, and all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness. . . . The goat shall bear all their iniquities upon him to a solitary land; and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness.” (The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version. Leviticus 16:21-22.)
In biblical times, on the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur, all the transgressions of the Jewish people were heaped—projected—onto the back of a “scapegoat,” which was then driven away into the wilderness taking all the peoples’ transgressions with it. Thus, projection always has a scapegoat.
Although projection is a casting forward or outward of something, I’m using it as a coping mechanism, which specifically means the externalization of my own inner thoughts, which I attributed to someone else, such as a motive and its subsequent behavior. Just as an empty movie projector casts only light until a specific film is put in it, we can project onto other people only what we think about ourselves, because without the thought, there’s nothing to project. But unlike a movie screen, which absorbs the projected image, people are mirrors, which reflect the projected image. Thus we see in others what we both consciously and unconsciously see in ourselves—nothing more, nothing less. As such, judgment, that which we see in ourselves, is the projectile we cast at the mirror in which we see our own reflection.
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Text © by Chris Maser 2010. All rights reserved.
This article is excerpted from my 1994 book, Sustainable Forestry: Philosophy, Science, and Economics. St. Lucie Press, Boca Raton, FL. 373 pp. It is updated in my 2012 book, Decision Making For A Sustainable Environment: A Systemic Approach. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. If you want more information about this book, want to purchase it, or want to contact me—visit my website.