Howdy, Illusionsaregrander. Thank you for the kind words.
Would you mind taking a look at my question and letting me know if you have any ideas or techniques one could use to see projection/denial in
It is a tough problem, no doubt about it. There are some approaches, though.
From your own post-before-last, you bolded the unconscious aspect of the definition. There are a lot of our beliefs for which there was a conscious
process which led to the conclusion. That lowers the chances of projection being the explanation, or limits the possible role for projection in the
overall set of beliefs in question.
I am not an alcoholic. That is what every alcoholic in denial says. How do I know, then?
I drink moderately, when I drink alone, it's always with food, otherwise always with friends, blah blah blah. I have impersonally valid reasons for
my statement, and my conclusion is not based on a cherry-picked record. I haven't left out some drunk driving conviction, for instance. There are no
"lost weekends." The idea "now would be a good time to have a drink" can always be traced to a conscious awareness of the situation being one
where ordinary people in my society routinely have a drink.
Basically, then, I am confident I am not in denial, because I am confident that many people would reach the same conclusion on the same factual
record. Reality checks (one big role for your "outside source") are always welcome. None of my friends cautions me about my drinking, I score low in
those little "Do you have a drinking problem?" quizzes, etc.
Awareness of projection and denial as candidate explanations goes a long way to launching a management approach. Even in your hypothetical of being a
member of a group that is collectively in denial, you would still know that denial is a possibility. An "outside source" has already told you about
denial, and has told you that denial is a general problem. Heads up.
You can take it from there, at least in principle, without further outside help. If you have a hypothesis about projection or denial, then you can
On that point, I should state my bias. I like Jung on these things much more than I like Freud. Jung has a much more positive and optimistic outlook
than Freud, so maybe I am in denial about how hopeless the situation is. But I don't think so.
(The source of my belief is obviously conscious. I have read books by and about these folks. Both have a big following, so an appreciation of the
merits of Jung over Freud is not peculiarly personal to me. I am not saying the controversy between them is settled, just that my view is not
pathological in origin.)
In Jung, projection is not (to borrow the phrase quoted in the OP) "the fundamental mechanism by which we keep ourselves uninformed about
ourselves." The Jungian self wants the ego
to become informed about the whole self. There is no Freudian war of a divided self against itself,
where keeping the ego
misinformed is a goal of the other combatants, or of the ego
itself to bear up under the others' assaults.
Projection might be a costly way of making unconscious contents conscious, but nevertheless, for Jung it is an opportunity for the conscious part of
the self to expand. Bottom line, then, the self-directed investigation of the hypothesis is not doomed from the outset. It can even be rewarding, not
only in the practical sense of correcting erroneous judgments, but also for learning about ourselves.
Or if that is what the "founded/unfounded" statement was, could you elaborate a little?
Yes, that fits in at the "impersonally valid" basis of the conclusion being examined.
If all I could say about my drinking was that I didn't have any personal problem with it, and as for those two drunk driving convictions, well,
obviously a corrupt judiciary was at work, then it would be fair to say that my view would be poorly founded.
And what of the poor traveling salesman who was twice rousted for drunk driving in a notorious speed-trap town where the local sheriff and judge split
the take from falsely convicting out-of-state motorists? Then there should be some evidence of that speed-trap thing. We're not looking for enough to
convict the local-law-for-life, but just for some foundation for the charge. If so, then cool. If it is only "obvious," then a problem with alcohol
ought to be suspected.
Hope that helps to clarify things.