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> The Mind
Not Liking Uncertainty
ProjectionProjection is a fairly well-known concept, and one I don't have much to say about; I'm just including it here because it strikes me as one of the important things the mind tends to do. My dictionary captures the idea pretty well.
The naive or unconscious attribution of one's own feelings, attitudes, or desires to others.
Initially I wasn't so sure about the phrase “naive or unconscious”, but on reflection I think it's correct. Even if you're aware that projection is something you tend to do, you're still necessarily not aware of the specific instances in which you're doing it. If there's ever a moment when you think “oh, I was projecting, wasn't I?”, then in that specific instance you're no longer projecting. You might still make the same attribution of feelings, but I don't think you'd call it projection any more.
The other thing about the phrase, though, is that it suggests that only a naive or oblivious person would project, and I don't think that's right at all, I think projection is entirely normal, and very useful as well. It does fool one sometimes, but on the whole it's a good thing.
Projection also strikes me as a very natural behavior for people to have. The explanation is easily understood in the context of the following paragraph from Distress (which, in the book, leads up to an interesting and wholly different idea).
“Everyone—or almost everyone—instinctively attempts to understand other human beings. To guess what they're thinking. To anticipate their actions. To … ‘know them.’ People build symbolic models of other people in their brains, both to act as coherent representations, tying together all the information which can actually be observed—speech, gestures, past actions—and to help make informed guesses about the aspects which can't be known directly—motives, intentions, emotions.”
Now, here's the thing about projection. When interacting with other people, we often don't have enough information to make good models, and are left with unknowns. However, since we don't like uncertainty, we want to have some kind of answer, and so, as a best guess, tend to assume that others are like we are.
Vlad explains about projection (in Issola):
“ … I'm generalizing from one example, here, but everyone generalizes from one example. At least, I do.”
Being the Car
@ August (2000)
o February (2003)